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Author: 

Amalgamated clothing 
workers of America. 

Title: 

The clothing workers of 

Chicago, 1910-1922 

Place: 

Chicago 

Date : 

1922 



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MASTER NEGATIVE # 



COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES 
PRESERVATION DIVISION 

BIBLIOGRAPHIC MICROFORM TARGET 



ORIGINAL MATERIAL AS FILMED - EXISTING BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD 



Business 
D267 



Amalgamated clothing workers of America. Research dept. 
The clotliinnr woikois of Cliica<ro, 1910-1922. Chicago, 

Tho ChicMiTo joint board, Amalgainated clothing workers of 

AnuM'ica, 1922. 

\K p. 1., Vl\ p. front., plates, ixuts., illujirs. 24 nn. 

•"I'lu' hook was prepared ... under tlie direction of Mr. Um) Wolnian. 
with the o»-o|HMation of Miss lOleanor Mack. Mr. H. K. Herwitz. of the 
lU'search department, and Mr. Paul Wander ... The thini part on 
Ooverninenl in Indu.stry was wrltt«»n hy Mr. Paul Wander." 

1. (iothin;: workers — C'hlcajjo. 2. Arhitrathm. Indu.Ktrlal— Illinois — 
('liTr;ii.'o. \\, ^nothinj,' trade— (•hl<a:;oj _u Wolnmn. I.eo, 1800- 
II. W.indi'rTI'aul. m. Ma«k. Kleanor. iv. Ilerwitz. 11. K. v. Ainal^ra- 
iiiated tlothiiiK workers of America. Chlcap* Joint hoard. — vi. Title. 

1.22— 2:U 
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THE LIBRARIES 




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THE CLOTHING WORKERS 

OF CHICAGO 



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1910-1922 




THE CHICAGO JOINT BOARD 

AMALGAMATED CLOTHING WORKERS OF AMERICA 

CHICAGO. 1922 




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THE CLOTHING WORKERS 

OF CHICAGO 



1910-1922 




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THE CHICAGO JOINT BOARD 

AMALGAMATED CLOTHING WORKERS OF AMERICA 

CHICAGO. 19M 



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This book on " The Clothing Workers of Chicago ' 
presented by the Chicago Joint Board to the delegates to 
the Fifth Biennial Convention of the Amalgamated Cloth- 
ing Workers, in Chicago, May 8, 1922. The book was pre- 
pared by the Research Department of the Amalgamated 
Clothing Workers, under the direction of Mr. Leo Wolman, 
with the co-operation of Miss Eleanor Mack, Mr. H. K. 
Herwitz, of the Research Department, and Mr. Paul Wan- 
der. The third part on Government in Industry was written 
by Mr. Paul Wander. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 



PAGE 

Chapter I — The Chicago Joint Board 1 

Part I — The Growth of Organization. 

Chapter II— The Strike of 1910 17 

» Chapter III — The Development of Arbitration 49 

Chapter IV — The Break From the Garment Workers. . . 72 

Chapter V— The Strike of 1915 95 

Chapter VI — The Organization of the Chicago Market 109 

Part II — Wages and Hours. 

Chapter VII— Wages and Hours, 1911-1921 125 

Chapter VIII — The Great Wage Arbitrations 144 

Part HI — Government in Industry. 

Chapter IX — Introduction 189 

Chapter X — The Powers of Management 196 

Chapter XI — Discipline and Discharge 229 

Chapter XII — Working Conditions 281 

Chapter XIII — The Adjustment of Wages 299 

Chapter XIV — The Principle of Union Preference 330 

Appendix I — Index of Decisions 415 

Appendix II — Wage Tables 421 



CHAPTER I 



THE CHICAGO JOINT BOARD 

Foe ten years the men's clothing industry of Chicago 
has been the seat of one of the most important experiments 
in industrial government ever conducted in this coimtry.. 
Beginning in 1911 with the famous agreement between 
Hart, Schaffner and Marx and the clothing workers, and 
extended in 1919 to cover the whole Chicago market, gov- 
ernment in the men's clothing industry has come to embrace 
in 1922 a citizenry of from 40,000 to 50,000 men and women. 
In their daily lives in the shops, in their search for jobs, 
these workers subscribe to rules and regulations, standards 
of workmanship and of conduct, in whose making they and 
their representatives have had a voice. From the first both 
employers and workmen have reaUzed that there can be no 
industrial peace and no machinery of adjustment and 
stabilization without the cooperation and support of a strong 
organization of working men and women. The develop- 
ment of the machinery of arbitration, about which so much 
has been said, was, consequently, at each step accompanied 
by the growth in numbers and in power of the trade union 
of clothing workers. Side by side with the extension of 
industrial rules, procedure, and practices, the labor organi- 
zation in the clothing industry of Chicago has assumed new 
functions, and has slowly but progressively met and solved 
the problems of its own internal government. The story of 
collective bargaining in the clothing industry in Chicago is 
no less a story of the development of this internal govern- 
ment of the union than of the rise of agreements, trade 
boards, and arbitration. 

The eight years from 1911 to 1919 in the history of the 
Union were the years of the rise of organized labor in Hart, 
Schaffner and Marx, the solidification and strengthening of 
the union of employees of that firm, and the gradual ex- 



CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 



THE CHICAGO JOINT BOARD 



tension of membership to the employees of other manufac- 
turers cuhninating in the market agreement of 1919. During 
the first period the membership remained comparatively 
small, varying from about 2000 in 1910-1918 to 8000 in 
1918-1919. The organization campaigns of the union, the 
war, and the economic policies of the federal government, 
however, soon had their effects. By June, 1919, member- 
ship had risen to 25,000. In the period from June to Decem- 
ber, 1919, 15,000 more were added, and from that time to 
the present the membership has risen and fallen with the 
expansion and contraction of the industry. In December, 
1921, the time of the last official count, the number of mem- 
bers of the Chicago Joint Board in good standing was 
40,024 — practically all of the clothing workers of the city. 

This sudden expansion of the organization brought with 
it new responsibilities and problems. Sudden accessions in 
membership, no matter how large, do not mean imified and 
permanent organization. The interest and loyalty of the 
newcomers had to be enlisted just as the experience of eight 
years had effected the solidarity of the employees of Hart, 
Schaffner and Marx. The machinery of union government 
had to be extended to meet the needs of thousands of new 
people. It became necessary to extend and sharpen the checks 
and balances which still seem to be an essential element of all 
democratic government; so that the rank and file could en- 
trust wide powers to officers who would at the same time 
remain responsive to the wishes of their constituents. The 
ratification of the 1919 agreements brought under the opera- 
tion of the collective agreement employers who had long 
been bitterly hostile to trade unions in general and to the 
clothing workers* union in particular. With these and other 
employers the union had to establish immediate and daily 
relations designed to further the prompt and amicable ad- 
justment of matters of principle, interpretation and pro- 
cedure. 

To these difficult tasks the union brought a type of organi- 
zation which, in spite of incidental defects common to human 
institutions, has gone far to meet adequately the situations 



i 



I 



i 



with which it has been confronted. As a practical matter, 
then, the union was faced in 1919 with the task of building 
up an administrative and legislative machinery qualified to 
perform the functions that were immediately demanded of 
it. These functions are almost as varied as are the functions 
of all organized government. A large labor organization 
has its officers and official activities. The conduct of business 
requires funds; members, therefore, must be taxed and 
financial safeguards be devised. Labor organizations rest 
on certain social and economic principles. Educational 
machinery must be created to stimulate the discussion of 
these principles and to teach the members of the union their 
significance. The victories of the organization bring to its 
members, among other things, the shorter workday and addi- 
tional leisure. A truly democratic organization will help 
its members to employ their leisure wisely. The organiza- 
tion of hundreds of non-union shops and the installation of 
continuous machinery of investigation and adjustment 
means the creation of a staff of supervisors, negotiators, 
and technical experts, willing and competent to perform 
these new duties. Finally the obligation conferred upon the 
union, through the preferential union shop, to furnish the 
employer with workmen necessitates the organization of 
employment offices and an understanding of the problems 
of employment and unemployment. 

So far as general union business is concerned, the smallest 
political unit in the Chicago union at the present time is 
the local union. Although the Amalgamated Clothing 
Workers is an industrial imion in the sense that it presents 
a uniform policy for all workers regardless of craft, some 
of the locals still retain their craft distinctions. In the main, 
however, the local unions are divided with reference to the 
principal branches of the industry and the nationality and 
sex of the workers. Thus, the eleven local unions in Chicago 
at present comprise six local unions of coatmakers, and five 
locals of cutters and trimmers, vest makers, pants makers, 
spongers and examiners, and machinists. The six local 
unions of coatmakers consist of five language locals — Bo- 



I 



4 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

hemian, Polish, Lithuanian, English, and Italian — and one 
local union of women. The membership of the local unions 
varied in December, 1921, from 80 for local 272 to 11,510 
for local 89. For all practical purposes, the local union is 
the place to which the members of the same branch of the 
industry or of the same craft may come to discuss their 
problems in relation to the policy of the organization, make 
suggestions to the Joint Board, discipline members who have 
violated the principles of the organization, and in general 
act as a center for the consideration of questions that are 
of concern to its members. 

The effective and important unit of government in the 
union is, however, the Joint Board. This body is composed 
of 85 delegates elected annually by the local unions, a mana- 
ger and financial secretary-treasurer elected by the entire 
membership, and two deputies-at-large similarly elected. 
Because of the size of the Joint Board, the conduct of cur- 
rent, routine business is entrusted to a smaller board of 
directors, a finance committee, and an appeal board which 
hears appeals from the decisions of local unions. In the 
Joint Board is centered the collection and disbursal of 
money, the initiation and execution of the policy of the union 
in the industry, and the supervision over the staff of the 
organization. 

Probably one of the principal features of the Chicago 
union of clothing workers is the centralization of its finances 
in the Joint Board. The money collected through dues goes 
not to the local union but to the Joint Board, where it is 
distributed and is subject to strict and frequent auditing 
by both the local and national offices of the union. The 
dues of two dollars a month which is required of each member 
of the imion is at the outset allocated in the following way: 

25 cents for building and maintenance 

50 cents for the national office 

20 cents for the reserve fund 

5% cents for the local unions 

7% cents for the papers published by the national office 

92 cents for the Joint Board. 




! 



4 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

hemian, Polish, Lithuanian, Enghsh, and Italian — and one 
local union of women. The membership of the local unions 
varied in December, 1921, from 80 for local 272 to 11,510 
for local 89. For all practical purposes, the local union is 
the place to which the members of the same branch of the 
industry or of the same craft may come to discuss their 
problems in relation to the policy of the organization, make 
suggestions to the Joint Board, discipline members who have 
violated the principles of the organization, and in general 
act as a center for the consideration of questions that are 
of concern to its members. 

The effective and important unit of government in the 
union is, however, the Joint Board. This body is composed 
of 85 delegates elected annually by the local unions, a mana- 
ger and financial secretary-treasurer elected by the entire 
membership, and two deputies-at-large similarly elected. 
Because of the size of the Joint Board, the conduct of cur- 
rent, routine business is entrusted to a smaller board of 
directors, a finance committee, and an appeal board which 
hears appeals from the decisions of local unions. In the 
Joint Board is centered the collection and disbursal of 
money, the initiation and execution of the policy of the union 
in the industry, and the supervision over the staff of the 
organization. 

Probably one of the principal features of the Chicago 
union of clothing workers is the centralization of its finances 
in the Joint Board. The money collected through dues goes 
not to the local union but to the Joint Board, where it is 
distributed and is subject to strict and frequent auditing 
by both the local and national offices of the union. The 
dues of two dollars a month which is required of each member 
of the union is at the outset allocated in the following way : 

25 cents for building and maintenance 

50 cents for the national office 

20 cents for the reserve fund 

5% cents for the local unions 

7% cents for the papers published by the national office 

92 cents for the Joint Board. 




I 



THE CHICAGO JOINT BOARD 5 

The sum received by the Joint Board is used to pay sala- 
ries, rent, organization expenses, the expenses of shop meet- 
ings, donations, and the loss in wages through union business 
of officials who work in the shop. 

The relation of the union to the machinery of arbitration 
and adjustment of disputes has made necessary the develop- 
ment of an additional unit of government and of elaborate 
administrative machinery. A large part of the life of the 
factory worker is after all spent in the 'shop. There he has 
his disputes with the foreman, objects to rules, protests his 
new piece rates, feels discrimination in the failure to apply 
the equal division of work principle, and participates in a 
stoppage, or is affected by one. In any or all cases adjust- 
ment must be made promptly and on the spot. Neither the 
management nor the worker can aflFord to wait until the 
point at issue has been brought to the local union or to the 
Joint Board and there settled. For matters such as these 
the employer must have his shop representative and the 
union its shop organization. As early as the Hart, Schaff ner 
and Marx agreement, therefore, shops acted as units and 
elected their shop-chairman and assistant shop-chairman to 
represent them in matters affecting their interest that daily 
arose within the shop. With the signing of the 1919 agree- 
ments this system of shop representation was adopted 
throughout the market and the shop chairman and his assist- 
ant everywhere in the city represents his fellow workers, 
meets with the representatives of the firm, adjusts differ- 
ences where possible, and refers difficult cases to other offi- 
cers of the union. 

At the same time, however, the clothing industry in Chi- 
cago is in many respects a unit. The union makes agree- 
ments not only with individual firms but with the market 
as a whole. While permitting local and shop settlements 
of disputed issues, the union must also see to it that working 
conditions approach a fair degree of standardization. This 
implies a certain amount of uniformity of policy throughout 
the city. Through the medium of hundreds of shop chair- 
men, scattered through the industry and working under 




e 



CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 



li 



varying conditions, it would be difficult, if not impossible, 
to attain uniformity and standardization. For this purpose, 
therefore, it is necessary to have another set of officers, with 
wider fields of jurisdiction, of long experience and a knowl- 
edge of the industry and of the policy of the union. It is, 
likewise, desirable to give to either employer and employee 
who may be dissatisfied with a ruling of the shop chairman, 
the right to appeal from his decision, or at least the oppor- 
tunity to discuss the matter with another agent of the union. 
Frequently also the failure of a shop chairman to effect a 
friendly settlement of a stubborn case, without resort to the 
impartial machinery, makes necessary the intervention of a 
higher union official, who by reason of his authority, skill, 
and experience finally reaches an amicable adjustment. To 
supplement the work of the shop chairman in this way, the 
Joint Board has as part of its regular staff 34 deputies, 32 
of whom are elected by various local unions and 2 by the 
membership at large. Of the first group, 20 represent the 
coat makers; 5 the pants makers; 3 the cutters; 3 the vest 
makers; and 1 the spongers, examiners, and bushelmen. To 
each of these deputies a certain branch of the industry or 
part of the city is assigned and he there carries on his work — 
visits the shops ; settles disputes ; hears grievances ; sees that 
union conditions are observed; and acts as intermediary be- 
tween the Joint Board and the shop. 

With a staff so large and duties so varied, the efficiency 
of the organization must depend on the abiUty of its officers 
to coordinate and direct the work of the men and women 
engaged in these various activities. In actual practice this 
task of direction is in the hands of Levin, the manager of 
the Joint Board, and of his associates, Marimpietri, Rosen- 
blum, Rissman, and Skala. In the offices of the Joint Board 
on Halsted Street, at daily conferences and meetings lasting 
long into the night, the day's work is planned, the union 
policy is outlined, and men are assigned to their jobs. Every 
day but Sunday, from early morning to late night, a con- 
stant stream of men and women winds in and out of Levin's 
office. Now it is a business agent seeking advice on a dif- 



THE CHICAGO JOINT BOARD 7 

ficult case or protesting a decision of the Trade Board; now 
it is a delegation from a contract shop complaining that the 
contractor has closed his shop and refused to pay the work- 
ers their wages. A moment later it is a worker from one 
of the shops explaining that he is given less work than his 
fellows in the same shop, while he has a wife and children 
to support and can earn only a few dollars a week. Another 
comes from the employment office across the hall to tell a 
tale of discrimination which has kept him unemployed for a 
month while the clerk in the employment office has sent hun- 
dreds of other members with the same qualifications to jobs 
he might have had. With infinite tact and patience Levin 
listens to the stories, scribbles notes on his pad, eUcits by 
shrewd cross-examination the essential facts in the case, and 
passes to the next complaint. 

In the next office Marimpietri carries on the work as head 
of the price-making department. Long in the industry, a 
veteran of all the battles which the clothing workers have 
fought in Chicago since 1910, Marimpietri carries at his 
finger tips a knowledge of the processes in the industry, 
systems of wage payments, the relation between piece rates 
and the character of the work that is probably unequalled 
anjrwhere in the industry. To him are brought for adjust- 
ment the innumerable disputes over the fixing of new piece 
rates. Work changes, new shops are opened, new processes 
are introduced, styles change, processes are sub-divided; each 
change, small or large, raises problems of rate adjustment 
that require technical and expert knowledge of rate fixing. 
In cases that are finally brought to the Trade Board for 
settlement, frequently the testimony of Marimpietri alone is 
sufficient assurance to the chairman of the fairness of rate. 

An organization as large as the Chicago Joint Board has 
from time to time its special problems which must be met 
promptly and effectively. To perform its function in the 
system of collective bargaining now prevailing in the in- 
dustry, the union must participate with the employers and 
the arbitration machinery in the administration of policies 
agreed upon in negotiations or ordered by the impartial 



8 



CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 



machinery. Thus the arbitration award of April, 1921, con- 
tained, among other things, a provision for the establishment 
of standards of production for cutters and trimmers. The 
administration of this decision depended upon an examina- 
tion of present production, a knowledge of differences in 
shop conditions, and possession of the confidence of the 
workers whose standards were to be fixed. This task was 
assigned to Rissman. Formerly a cutter, now deputy-at- 
large and assistant manager of the Joint Board, for a long 
time the representative of the cutters, Rissman for almost 
a year, in cooperation with a representative of the employers 
and with Professor Millis, Chairman of the Board of Arbi- 
tration, was engaged in this task of setting standards. With 
this done he turns to the fixing of trinuning standards. 

Thus there has in a short period developed this division of 
labor, which brings to the work of the union experience and 
intelligence. But the activity of the Joint Board does not 
stop even here. The staff of the Board is composed, of 
course, of diverse individuals, who react variously to the 
same situation. The organization must have a policy, how- 
ever elastic it may be. On Saturday mornings, for example, 
all of the deputies meet in joint conference. Some have en- 
countered puzzling cases in the course of their week's work. 
They wonder whether their experience is new or old. Is it 
wise or not for the organization to adopt one of a number 
of alternative policies in the settlement of a particular issue? 
What is the temper of the people with regard to a proposed 
or adopted poHcy of the union? Questions such as these 
are here reviewed in weekly discussion. Out of it comes 
gradually a policy, an understanding of the many-sidedness 
of what seems at first a simple point, and the development 
of a group spirit. 

Frequently, also, an impending crisis or the making effec- 
tive a new policy of the union makes it necessary to reach 
promptly the whole of the rank and file. When the General 
Executive Board of the imion decided to raise a reserve fund 
throughout the whole of the clothing industry, the first step 
was to make known the proposal to the rank and file. A 



THE CHICAGO JOINT BOARD 



9 







similar situation was presented with the decision to raise a 
fund for the relief of the victims of the Russian famine. 
In Chicago this contact with the membership is made through 
shop meetings conducted throughout the city. Shop chair- 
men are called into a general meeting, where they have an 
opportunity to discuss the proposals. The office of the Joint 
Board prepares a schedule of shop meetings. Convenient 
halls are rented. Organizers of different nationality, chosen 
for their relations with the groups whom they are to address, 
are called in from the field and are assigned to their shop 
meetings. Then the machinery is put into operation and the 
shop meetings are held. At these meetings every possible 
type of subject is considered, from the history of the Amal- 
gamated to the specific proposal then under discussion. An 
idea of the extent of these meetings can be got from the fact 
that in the year from February, 1921, to January 14, 1922, 
2,104 such meetings were held throughout the city — 886 in 
the down-town and outlying districts, 814 in the northwest 
side, and 404 in the southwest. 

An activity of the union, which has in the past two years 
assumed great importance, grows directly out of the terms 
of the agreements between the union, Hart, Schaffner and 
Marx and the other clothing manufacturers of Chicago. 
Under these terms the manufacturers are given the right to 
employ non-union workers, provided that no qualified union 
workers are then available for the work. The manufac- 
turers, therefore, apply to the union for workers before they 
attempt to engage any in the open market and the union has 
come to conduct a registration office of its unemployed mem- 
bers. To this office unemployed come and register; give 
what particulars about their occupations are necessary; and 
await a call to the next job. In the years of depression like 
1921 and 1922, the ante-room in the union headquarters is 
almost daily filled with such applicants seeking employment. 
From October 5, 1920, to the end of 1921, 44,384 " O. K.'s " 
were issued to imemployed members at the three employ- 
ment offices now conducted by the union. 

Not all of the energies of the union, however, are ex- 



10 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

pended in purely industrial and political affairs. Union 
business is necessarily absorbing; the problems of the in- 
dustry must be attended; but at the same time attention 
should not be diverted from the possibilities for cultural 
development that inhere in a group continuously engaged in 
a common enterprise. These 40,000 to 50,000 members of 
the union, of some twenty diflFerent nationalities; varied in 
outlook and training; some in the country a few months, 
others born here; some members of trade unions for 20 years, 
others inducted within the last month or week; to this motley 
group must be given cohesion and unity, outside of the shop 
and industry as well as within. It is in general to accom- 
plish this end that the union pursues its educational activ- 
ities. Education becomes more than mere instruction; it is the 
great social activity of the union. The school room of the 
educational department of the Chicago Joint Board is not 
a small hall where a few ardent students of Marx straggle in 
and out a night or two a week. It is a great, bright enter- 
tainment on Friday night; a meeting of more than 5,000 
persons at Carmen's Hall, where men bring their families, 
stand in line from late afternoon and stay until near mid- 
night to hear members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 
famous singers, pianists, and violinists, and to listen to talks 
by such men as Lincoln Steffens, Raymond Robins, Frank 
P. Walsh, Hillman and others. These gigantic meetings, 
started for the first time in 1919, have now become an insti- 
tution in the lives of the Chicago clothing workers. They 
could no more be abolished than could the union itself. Each 
year a larger number of these types of meetings are held. 
In 1920 the appropriation for them was $5,400 and in 1921 
this sum was raised to $12,000. 

While these large meetings constitute the center of the 
educational activities of the union, classes for the instniction 
of small groups have also on occasion been provided. It is 
the purpose of the Joint Board to facilitate reading and 
study by the building of a library which has already been 
established in the central offices of the Board on Halsted 
Street. But the educational foundations of the union are 






Executive Offices, Chicago Joint Board— Samuel Levin, Manager • A D 
Marimpietri, in Charge, Price Fixing; Frank Rosenblum, Directing 
Organization Work 



10 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 



pended in purely industrial and political affairs. Union 
business is necessarily absorbing: the problems of the in- 
dustry must be attended; but at the same time attention 
should not be diverted from the possibilities for cultural 
development that inhere in a group continuously engaged in 
a common enterprise. These 40,000 to 50,000 members of 
the union, of some twenty different nationalities; varied in 
outlook and training; some in the country a few months, 
others born here ; some members of trade unions for 20 years, 
others inducted within the last month or week; to this motley 
group must be given cohesion and unity, outside of the shop 
and industry as well as within. It is in general to accom- 
plish this end that the union pursues its educational activ- 
ities. Education becomes more than mere instruction ; it is the 
great social activity of the union. The school room of the 
educational department of the Chicago Joint Board is not 
a small hall where a few ardent students of Marx straggle in 
and out a night or two a week. It is a great, bright enter- 
tainment on Friday night; a meeting of more than 5,000 
persons at Carmen's Hall, where men bring their families, 
stand in line from late afternoon and stay until near mid- 
night to hear members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 
famous singers, pianists, and violinists, and to listen to talks 
by such men as Lincoln Steffens, Raymond Robins, Frank 
P. Walsh. Hillman and others. These gigantic meetings, 
started for the first time in 1919, have now become an insti- 
tution in the lives of the Chicago clothing workers. They 
could no more be abolished than could the union itself. Each 
year a larger number of these types of meetings are held. 
In 1920 the appropriation for them was $5,400 and in 1021 
this sum was raised to $12,000. 

While these large meetings constitute the center of the 
educational activities of the union, classes for the instruction 
of small groups have also on occasion been provided. It is 
the purpose of the Joint Board to facilitate reading and 
study by the building of a library which has already been 
established in the central offices of the Board on Halsted 
Street But the educational foundations of the union are 






Executive Offices, Chlnifro Joint Board— Samuel l.evin, Manager ; A D 
Marimpietri, in Charge, Price Fixing; Frank Hosnibluni, Directing 
Organization Work 



THE CHICAGO JOINT BOARD 



11 



m 




li 



still the daily contact in the shops, local unions, and at the 
Joint Board between the workers, the union and the in- 
dustry, and the Friday night meetings. Up to the present 
the members of the Chicago Joint Board have learned most 
by active participation in the business of running their union 
and of conducting their affairs in shop and factory. 

The Chicago Joint Board of the Amalgamated Clothing 
Workers has not played its part in the clothing industry of 
Chicago alone. From the time when, in 1010, it first re- 
jected the leaders of the United Garment Workers, through 
the fight at Nashville in 1914, until the present, it has been 
a powerful force in more ways than one in building a strong 
national organization of clothing workers. When the break 
came at Nashville, the Chicago delegates, the memory of 
1910 still vivid in their minds, joined with the delegates 
from New York and elsewhere in the fight to discredit and 
reject Rickert and his associates. Later when the Amal- 
gamated Clothing Workers was organized, Chicago men 
and women became leaders of the new organization. Prob- 
ably never before in the history of a labor organization were 
so many leaders drawn from so narrow a circle. Sidney 
Hillman, president of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers, 
was an apprentice cutter in Hart, Schaffner and Marx and 
a striker in the strike of 1910. Potofsky, now assistant gen- 
eral secretary-treasurer of the national union. Levin, 
Marimpietri, Rosenblum, Skala, Rissman, members of the 
General Executive Board of the national union, are all 
from Chicago and helped in the rise of both the Chicago 
Joint Board and of the national organization. 

This contribution of leadership did not end the service 
of the Chicago union. From the first the spirit of Chicago 
has been of incalculable service when the fight was on in 
other centers and the outlook seemed dark. They, them- 
selves, worn by long struggles with the clothing manufac- 
turers, yet never forgot the importance of an active national 
organization. When the time came, and the national union 
was being attacked, Chicago went a long way toward sup- 



12 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

plying the sinews of war. In the New York lockout of 
1918-1919, the Chicago members took the back pay granted 
them in Hart, Schaffner and Marx, to the amount of 
$60,000 and sent it to their fellows in New York who were 
not working. Again in the great New York fight of 1920- 
1921, when the cost of conducting strikes had mounted and 
the union was hard pressed in Baltimore and Boston as 
weU, Chicago, in the midst of a period of widespread unem- 
ployment, raised $600,000 and sent the money to the aid 
of New York. Toward peaceful enterprises the Chicago 
Joint Board has been equally generous. Only recently, a 
short period after the New York assessment, it raised and 
contributed $62,000 to the relief of the Russian famine 
victims. 

From Chicago, also, go the representatives of the national 
office to organize the clothing workers in the surrounding 
cities. Organization activities in Indianapolis, Cincinnati, 
Louisville, St. Paul, Milwaukee, are all carried on from 
Chicago as a center. Frank Rosenblum, a general organizer 
of the national office, an active member of the Chicago union 
since before the strike of 1910, skiUed in the art of organiza- 
tion, directs from Chicago this work of organization in the 
outlying districts. To his aid he enlists such men and 
women as Isowitz, Kroll, Skala, Rissman, Krzycki, Johann- 
sen, Grandinetti, Nettie Richardson, seasoned organizers, 
trained in the Chicago struggles, to carry the spirit and 
achievements of Chicago to men and women who are still 
battling for emancipation. 

In common with the policy of the national organization, 
the Chicago Joint Board has from the first established 
friendly connections with the rest of the American labor 
movement. Although an independent union, in that it U 
not affiliated with the American Federation of Labor, it 
has not hesitated to do all in its power to cement its relations 
with other labor organizations. In the city of Chicago and 
in the State of Illinois it has both received and given sup- 
port from 1910 on. Between such men as Fitzpatrick and 
Nockels and the Chicago union there has always existed 





12 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

plying the sinews of war. In the New York lockout of 
1918-1919, the Chicago members took the back pay granted 
them in Hart, Schaffner and Marx, to the amount of 
$60,000 and sent it to their fellows in New York who were 
not working. Again in the great New York fight of 1920- 
1921, when the cost of conducting strikes had mounted and 
the union was hard pressed in Baltimore and Boston as 
well, Chicago, in the midst of a period of widespread unem- 
ployment, raised $600,000 and sent the money to the aid 
of New York. Toward peaceful enterprises the Chicago 
Joint Board has been equally generous. Only recently, a 
short period after the New York assessment, it raised "and 
contributed $62,000 to the relief of the Russian famine 
victims. 

From Chicago, also, go the representatives of the national 
office to organize the clothing workers in the surrounding 
cities. Organization activities in Indianapolis, Cincinnati, 
Louisville, St. Paul, Milwaukee, are all carried on from 
Chicago as a center. Frank Rosenblum, a general organizer 
of the national office, an active member of the Chicago union 
since before the strike of 1910, skilled in the art of organiza- 
tion, directs from Chicago this work of organization in the 
outlying districts. To his aid he enlists such men and 
women as Isowitz, Kroll, Skala, Rissman, Krzycki, Johann- 
sen, Grandinetti, Nettie Richardson, seasoned organizers, 
trained in the Chicago struggles, to carry the spirit and 
achievements of Chicago to men and women who are still 
battling for emancipation. 

In common with the policy of the national organization, 
the Chicago Joint Board has from the first estabhshed 
friendly connections with the rest of the American labor 
movement. Although an independent union, in that it U 
not affiliated with the American Federation of Labor, it 
has not hesitated to do all in its power to cement its relations 
with other labor organizations. In the city of Chicago and 
in the State of Illinois it has both received and given sup- 
port from 1910 on. Between such men as Fitzpatrick and 
Nockels and the Chicago union there has always existed 






THE CHICAGO JOINT BOARD 



13 



mutual sympathy and cooperation. The story of the great 
Chicago clothing strikes cannot be written without tribute 
to the services of these men in the cause of the strikers. As 
the Chicago Joint Board itself grew in power and resources 
it was able to lend aid to those who needed it. To the steel 
strikers of 1919 it gave $72,000. But its real contribution 
to the general labor movement lies deeper. The Chicago 
Joint Board for ten years has been a vast, experimental 
laboratory in American trade unionism. In it experiments 
in internal government and in industrial relations have been 
prosecuted and have yielded illuminating results. No 
greater service can be asked of a pioneer organization than 
that it has blazed a trail upon which others may follow. 

This history of the organization of Chicago clothing 
workers leaves it not at the end but at the beginning of its 
career. Much has been accomplished in the short space of 
ten years. But always the clothing workers look for new 
fields to conquer and for new burdens to assume. Plans 
for the construction of a new home on the site shown as the 
frontispiece to this volume and of a building on the north- 
west side are now under way. Their completion makes 
possible new undertakings which the inadequacy of the 
present offices of the union has forced to be postponed. 
Within only the past few months the preliminary steps were 
taken for the organization of a cooperative bank financed 
and organized by the members of the union. The present 
crisis of unemployment has led to the establishment of a loan 
fund for the support of the indigent unemployed. The 
educational activities of the union are expanding. New 
problems of the industry will arise and old ones will assimie 
a new and unfamiliar form. May the future of this organiza- 
tion retain the vigor and insight that have characterized its 
past 



■- • 'iir'iiMi\miiJi»iiiyJttoail«idlttMllw«tt irii 



--■ - ■ - * 



i|: 




1 




PART I 
THE GROWTH OF ORGANIZATION 



CHAPTER II 




THE STRIKE OF 1910 

The Chicago Garment Strike of 1910 was the first great 
landmark in the long struggle of the clothing workers for 
emancipation. Because it was felt to be the beginning of a 
great movement, and because of the importance of the issues 
and the proportions that the strike reached, there has col- 
lected about the story of this fight a mass of memories and 
traditions, and about the figures of those who were in the 
thick of it and who devoted themselves heart and soul to the 
cause of the workers, an ahnost historical glamor. It was 
a struggle to excite the keenest interest not only of the world 
of labor, but of all public-minded citizens. No one could 
be non-partisan in such a fight, and no one was. 

The feature of the strike was the entirely unorganized con- 
dition of the strikers and the spontaneity and determination 
of their protest in spite of that fact. It has been described 
by Mr. Dvorak, the author of the famous strike articles in 
the Chicago Daily Socialist, as a " simultaneous upheaval 
of over forty-one thousand garment workers, brought on by 
sixteen girls, against petty persecution, low wages, abuse 
and long hours ; an upheaval unorganized at the start, which 
later took on the form of a fight for recognition of the 
union." The strike did not grow out of a premediated 
attempt to organize the workers — it rose directly from the 
industrial conditions of the workers in Chicago. " There 
really were no definite demands ; the demands were that con- 
ditions must be changed; nobody knew exactly what they 
wanted; they wanted something better, of course, or 

diflferent." 

These conditions were the inevitable result of the nature 
and organization of the industry itself, coupled with the un- 



18 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 



THE STRIKE OF 1910 



19 



II 



organized and defenceless position of the workers. A glance 
at the history of the competitive struggle between the Chi- 
cago Wholesale Clothiers' Association (an organization of 
big concerns formed in defence against the new small tailor 
shops) and the one big firm that refused to enter the Asso- 
ciation — Hart, Schaffner and Marx — is enough to show how 
the independent tailors, and later the contractors, were all 
caught in the same system. GraduaUy, imder the competition 
of more powerful firms the smaller inside shops were driven 
out of independent business. Many of them turned their 
inside shops into contract shops and began to work for these 
big firms on a contract basis. The contractors thus found 
themselves caught between the upper and nether millstones 
of the association firms and their rival, Hart, Schaffner and 
Marx. They became mere pawns in the fight for supremacy. 
The first important move in this struggle came in response 
to a tactical increase in contractors' prices granted by the 
association houses, when Hart, Schaffner and Marx sud- 
denly ^vithdrew all work from ftheir Contract shops and 
opened in their place inside shops emplojdng over eight 
thousand tailors. This step was the signal for a drive on 
the part of both competitors to reduce their labor costs. The 
contract system lent itself easily to reductions in rates, for 
the contractors would pass the price reductions demanded 
by the manufacturers on to the workers by lowering their 
rates. At the same time Hart, Schaffner and Marx would 
try to preserve its competitive position by cutting the wages 
of its workers. This whole process was, also, made easy by 
the prevalence of piece work in an unorganized market. 
Without protection of their piece rates, the workers would 
be speeded up and then, when their earnings increased, would 
have their piece rates cut. A seasonal industry, unorganized 
workers, contractors, produced their natural and inevitable 
consequences — low earnings, excessive hours, and a helpless- 
ness, which could be relieved only by a powerful and con- 
tinuous organization of those who worked in the industry. 

The helplessness of the workers not only made it impos- 
sible for them to resist these conditions but was itself aggra- 



vated and intensified by them, so <hat the workers were caught 
in a vicious circle. In the first place, the garment workers 
were almost without exception recently arrived immigrants, 
unable to speak English, and ignorant of customs and con- 
ditions of other American industries. The racial and linguistic 
differences among the workers themselves made common 
understanding and action extremely difficult. An article 
describing the beginning of the strike in the official organ 
of the Women's Trade Union League, says that the re- 
bellious groups were not even known to each other. " They 
poured out of the shops, threw down their needles, and in 
nine different languages demanded a better condition of af- 
fairs in the industry of garment making in Chicago." That 
the ignorance of language and customs and the " green- 
ness " of the immigrant workers were taken advantage of, is 
proved again and again by stories that were told in the course 
of the investigation of the strike. The following story was 
told by a young Italian girl: 

" There were about ten greenhorns who could not talk Eng- 
lish at all. I can't speak English very good, but I speak more 
than what they could. So in the evening I went to the boss and 
I said: * Do you like my work? ' He said, ' Yes, I like your 
work very well.' I said : * How much are you going to pay 
me? ' He said ' What can you do? ' * Well,' I said, * I told 
you, basting, finisher, buttons, all kinds of work.' So he said, 
* Well I would like to have you be the f orelady to teach these 
greenhorns how to work because these are greenhorns and they 
can't work very weU. You just be f orelady and tell them to 
work more and make me good work.' So I said ' Well, all right, 
but don't you like the work they do?' He said, 'No, they 
can't work for me now but you must try and learn them.' So 
I said to him * If you think they can't do the work I have some 
good, experienced girls that could do the work right, and I will 
bring them over in the morning.' So he laughed — he stopped 
and laughed. He said, * Experienced girls? Not in my shop ! ' 
*Why not?' He said, 'I want no experienced girls. They 
know the pay to get. I got to pay them good wages and they 
make me less work, but these greenhorns, Italian people, Jewish 
people, all nationalities, they cannot speak English and they 
don't know where to go and they just come from the old coun- 
try, and I let them work hard, like the devil, and those I get for 
less wages." 



20 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 



'1 



Most of the workers had learned their trade in their own 
countries, but that served only to make them the more de- 
pendent on the only trade in which they were skilled. At the 
same time the seasonal nature of the industry and the fact 
that the industry was always over-supplied with labor kept 
the workers in constant fear of losing their jobs, and this fear 
made them powerless to complain or resist. The answer was 
always the same : " If you don't like it, you can leave." 
" We don't need you." " There are plenty to take your 
place." One of the girls told of her own experience, which 
was typical of many others. She had protested against a 
further wage cut in a shop of which she was forelady. The 
boss said, " If they cannot make it, here is the window and 
here is the door. If they don't want to go from the window 
they can go from the door, and if they don't want to go 
from the door, they can go from the window. * ♦ ♦ I have 
lots of greenhorns. I got to make my own living." 

It is all the more astonishing, in view of the workers' lack 
of organization and their fear of losing their jobs, that the 
strike grew to be more serious than any of the frequent 
sporadic flare-ups that had been so prevalent in the industry, 
and thus far so futile. It would have to be a serious and 
almost unbearable accumulation of grievances that would 
induce the workers to run that risk sooner than continue un- 
der the old sweat-shop conditions. A Grievance Committee 
appointed by the Strike Committee of the Women's Trade 
Union League, after the strike began, published a report 
of its findings and accounts of grievances told by girl 
strikers. These stories and the evidence submitted later to 
the Illinois State Senate Investigation Conmiittee give some 
idea of how serious these grievances were. 

By means of the piece work system and reduction of rates, 
the workers were driven to an ever-increasing speed, that was 
injurious to their health not only on its own account, but also 
because the long hours and the ill-ventilated and ill-lighted 
shops added to the nervous strain of speeding. This state- 
ment by HiUman is typical: 




Sidney Hillman, General President 



„ - ■rtafliifcittf '■' 



20 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 



Most of the workers had learned their trade in their own 
countries, but that served only to make them the more de- 
pendent on the only trade in which they were skilled. At the 
same time the seasonal nature of the industry and the fact 
that the industry was always over-supplied with labor kept 
the workers in constant fear of losing their jobs, and this fear 
made them powerless to complain or resist. The answer was 
always the same: "If you don't like it, you can leave." 
" We don't need you." " There are plenty to take your 
place." One of the girls told of her own experience, which 
was typical of many others. She had protested against a 
further wage cut in a shop of which she was forelady. The 
boss said, "If they cannot make it, here is the window and 
here is the door. If they don't want to go from the window 
they can go from the door, and if they don't want to go 
from the door, they can go from the window. * * * I have 
lots of greenhorns. I got to make my own living." 

It is all the more astonishing, in view of the workers' lack 
of organization and their fear of losing their jobs, that the 
strike grew to be more serious than any of the frequent 
sporadic flare-ups that had been so prevalent in the industry, 
and thus far so futile. It would have to be a serious and 
almost unbearable accumulation of grievances that would 
induce the workers to run that risk sooner than continue un- 
der the old sweat-shop conditions. A Grievance Committee 
appointed by the Strike Committee of the Women's Trade 
Union League, after the strike began, published a report 
of its findings and accounts of grievances told by girl 
strikers. These stories and the evidence submitted later to 
the Illinois State Senate Investigation Committee give some 
idea of how serious these grievances were. 

By means of the piece work system and reduction of rates, 
the workers were driven to an ever-increasing speed, that was 
injurious to their health not only on its own account, but also 
because the long hours and the ill-ventilated and ill-lighted 
shops added to the nervous strain of speeding. This state- 
ment by Hillman is typical: 




Sidney Hlllnum, GcMicral President 



THE STRIKE OF 1910 



21 



" In our place (Sears, Roebuck) we were working about seven 
thousand girls — in our place ten hours a day, and before the ten 
hour law was passed they used to work three nights a week, 
getting for remuneration a supper that was paid for by the 
Company in their own restaurant." ' 

The fastest workers would be made " pacemakers " and 
their rates would be increased until they had reached the 
highest possible production. This production would then 
be required of all the workers and the rates gradually re- 
duced. Changes in operations or the combination of what 
had been two or more operations into one, or other changes 
that made the work more difficult would be required without 
any compensating changes being made in the piece rates, so 
that the actual earnings of the workers were decreased. An- 
nie Schapiro gives the following testimony for her own shop: 

" When they (the workers) were first cut a quarter of a cent 
in shop 5, the firm promised the workers they would not have to 
sew the waist bands in the pants. But later the boss said 
' Boys, I want you to sew the bands for the same money.' We 
kept quiet because we could not help it." 

The rates to begin with were in most cases so low as to 
make it impossible for the workers to earn a living without 
taking work home. Needle workers would take packages 
of needles home with them to thread at night, so as to be able 
to get more work done in the shops. Women earning from 
three dollars to six doUars a week on piece work rates would 
take work away with them to do at night, despite the long 
workmg day. One story told to the Grievance Committee 
shows that the women in one shop had to finish ten coats a 
day, and each coat required at least an hour and a half, even 
for an experienced worker. The rates for these were thir- 
teen cents a coat, which meant that if they worked ten hours 
steadily, at the greatest possible speed, they could make 
eighty-five cents a day. Later the boss of this shop was cut 
by the contractor he was working for and he told the girl 
that the women in her shop have to do the work for twelve 
cents a coat. Her own story, which follows, shows how the 
workers were finally goaded into striking: 



22 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 



" I said, * I am not going to tell those people twelve cents a 
coat.' He said, * You got to tell them.' I said, * No, sir, you 
tell them yourself. I am just ashamed to tell them '. . . . He 
said, ' You are forehidy, you are supposed to do the speaking.' 
I said, * Well, if I am supposed to do the speaking, then I will 
not be the forelady, I want to be a working girl, the same as 
the others, and then I don't speak." 

" I knew they were striking in all the shops, so I told all our 
girls, I said, ' The first whistle we hear in the window, that means 
. for us to strike.' So one day, it was dinner time, quarter after 
twelve and we hear a big noise under the window and there was 
about two hundred persons were all whistling for us to come 
down and strike, so I was the first one to go out and get the 
other girls to come after me." 

Other workers told similar stories: 

" We started to work at 7.30 and worked until 6 with three- 
quarters of an hour for lunch. Our wages were seven cents a 
pair of pants or one dollar for fourteen pairs and for that we 
made four pockets and one watch pocket. But they were 
always changing the style of stitching, and till we got the 
swing of the new style, we would lose time and money and we 
felt sore about it. Some of the new styles took more time, 
anjrway. One day the foreman told us the wages were cut to 
six cents a pair of pants and the new style had two watch 
pockets and we didn't stand for that, so we got up and left after 
Mr. Wolf told us if we didn't like the prices, we could quit. 

" That was way back in September. We walked over to 
Hart, Schaffner and Marx to see if we could get work there, and 
we found they had a strike. We knew nothing of it, but of 
course we wouldn't scab. After a week or so, we went back 
to the old shop and found others in our place. Then the great 
strike came — not just the separate little strikes, but one whole 
strike. When the foreman heard us all talking about it, he 
said, ' Girls, you can have your pockets and your cent again if 
you'll stay.' But just then there was a big noise outside and 
we all rushed to the windows and there we saw the police beating 
the strikers on our account, and when we saw that we went out." 

Another worker testified that she worked in one shop for 
three years at four dollars, five dollars, and later seven dol- 
lars a week. Later when she was put on piece work, she 
could earn more but it was harder work and the highest 
earnings she ever made were twelve dollars. 



THE STRIKE OF 1910 



23 



But the reductions in rates and wages were not the only 
grievances of the workers. Again and again there are com- 
plaints about the abuse of the absolute and arbitrary power 
vested in the foreman or even the assistant foreman. It was 
this power as much if not more than the seasonal periods of 
unemployment that instilled in the workers the constant fear 
of being fired, and kept them from making complaints. 

** I especially recall the feeling of fear besides the wages," 
testified Hillman before the Federal Industrial Relations Com- 
mission in 1914, " I believe I started in with $7 a week, and dur- 
ing 8 years I worked up to $11 or $12 ; but what I consider more 
important is this, that is the constant fear of the employees of 
being discharged without cause at all. There really was no cause 
at all sometimes. The floor boss, as we called him, did not like a 
particular girl or man, and out they went. I remember especial- 
ly the panic of 1907 when the employees were in constant fear of 
' Who will be thrown out?' I remember we tried, all of us, to get 
into the good graces of the floor boss. When I worked for Hart, 
Schaffner and Marx I worked two months without pay, as it was 
understood that I had savings enough to live if I did not get any 
other remuneration. I believe for about a couple of months I 
worked for $6 or $7 a week. The conditions prevailing were 
about the same everywhere, the man directly in charge w«is the 
boss and everything else. I remember when I made the first 
complaint I packed up my tools and I went out." 

One girl testified that she began work at the age of 12. 
She was small enough to be covered by the boss' coat when 
the factory inspector came around! " One day the foreman 
came to me and told me I could be assistant foreman and 
that he would give me $8 a week to start and then make it 
$10. But then suddenly all the men seemed to be getting 
ugly to me, and I didn't know why, but I know now. The 
assistant foreman who was there before me was a man and 
he got $22, and then you see they thought I knew just about 
as much, and they offered me the job and they only gave me 
$10, and I didn't know I was working for less than the man; 
so all the other men hated me and tried to take it out on me. 
Afterwards I learned that the manager didn't know about it 
either, but that the foreman was just doing this on his own 
account." 



24 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

If a worker was too good to lose, but yet showed a tendency 
to rebellion and toward arousing the discontent of the others, 
he or she would generally be made foreman or forelady. 
Bonuses would be given to foremen or foreladies for increas- 
ing the productivity of their shop, while if they did not get 
better results they would lose their jobs. Thus the foremen 
and assistant foremen were given every incentive, including 
that of fear, toward driving the workers, though no changes 
were made in the earnings of the workers themselves for in- 
creased production. This system naturally led to all kinds 
of abuse and petty tyranny on the part of the foremen and 
foreladies, from whose actions there was no appeal. In one 
shop, for example, the foreman had the water turned off be- 
fore and after the dinner hour, so that the workers could 
have no reason to take off time from their work. Many other 
disputes arose in connection with the saving of time. After 
the passage of the 10-hour law, for instance, foremen in 
several shops managed to evade the law by requiring the 
workers to work before and after punching the time clock, 
and the workers did not dare complain. 

The obnoxious system of fines was another weapon in the 
hands of the foremen, and one of the most irritating. In 
many instances failure to punch the time clock three times 
daily was fined, and in some shops punching it one minute 
late was fined the equivalent of 15 minutes of working time. 
Excessive fines were imposed for the slightest errors in 
work, out of all proportion to the amount of loss incurred 
by the employer. If any garment was even slightly dam- 
aged, the worker had to pay the full price of the garment, 
and he might be compelled to purchase it at the retail price. 
In one instance, a tailor earning $14 a week slightly damaged 
three pairs of pants and was charged $12 by the company. 
His fellow-workers being unable to complain raffled off the 
three pairs of pants to compensate him for the loss. The Sen- 
ate Investigation Committee revealed similar conditions in 
other shops, for example: 

" Senator McKenzie : In taking these goods, do they permit 
the employe to take them at cost? 



THE STRIKE OF 1910 



25 



« 



(( 



Witness : No Sir, they charge their regular wholesale price 
with their profits attached to it. 

" Senator McKenzie : They make him pay the profits you 
say? 

" Witness : Yes, sir. 
Senator McKenzie : They have made a sale in other words ? 
Witness : Yes, Sir, on a damaged piece of goods." 

Many workers complained that they were forced to pay 
for materials that they used up or lost at retail rates. " A fine 
of 60 cents was imposed for a lost spool whether empty or 
full, and on entering, shop workers have been charged 25 
cents for oil cans procurable wholesale at 5 cents." 

The effect of all these unremedied grievances, together 
with the lack of any possible means for adjusting them,, 
engendered in the workers a state of chronic unrest and dis- 
content, which broke out in numerous small but bitter strikes. 
Mr. Joseph Schaffner of Hart, Schaffner and Marx de- 
scribed the situation to the Industrial Relations Commission 
as follows: 

Careful study of the situation has led me to the belief that 
the fundamental cause of the strike was that the workers had 
no satisfactory channel through which minor grievances, exac- 
tions and petty tyrannies of underbosses * * ♦ could be 
taken up and amicably adjusted. Taken separately, these 
grievances appear to have been of a minor character. They 
were, however, allowed to accumulate from month to month and 
from year to year. ♦ ♦ ♦ The result was that there steadily 
grew up in the minds of many a feeling of distrust and enmitV 
towards their immediate superiors in position, because they felt 
that justice was being denied them. If they had had the 
temerity to complain against a boss, they incurred his displea- 
sure, and his word was taken in preference to theirs. In some 
instances they lost their jobs, and where this was not the case 
they seldom received any satisfaction. 

" Shortly before the strike I was so badly informed of the con- 
ditions that I called the attention of a friend to the satisfactory 
state of the employees. It was only a few days before the great 
strike of the Garment Workers broke out. When I found out 
later of the conditions that had prevailed, I concluded that the 
strike should have occurred much sooner." 



26 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

The resentment of the workers had, in fact, piled up 
through years of injustices until almost anything would have 
served to start the blaze. The first spark was struck on 
September 22 in Shop No. 5. a pants shop of Hart, Schaifner 
and Marx, when several girls walked out of the shop rather 
than accept a cut of one-quarter cent in rates. Annie 
Schapiro, one of the first to go out, gives the following ac- 
count of what happened: 

" After they had cut the rates for seaming pants 14^» they 
gave it back again, then cut again, and we went out. There 
was a man (Morris) who said ' No, I will not work for 8%^.' 
We were told to come back Friday at twelve. On Friday there 
was the whole bunch there * ♦ * and we did not know any- 
thing about it, and he (Morris) would not leave us go upstairs 
and stopped us in the office. He said ' What are you going to 
work for.?* That is only 8%^ now. I wouldn't work for that 
* * *. I said I could work for 8%^. 

" I went down on the Monday the next week to see about the 
seamers and they did not come back to work. And one or more 
fellows went down-town, and the rest of them left." 

The workers then sent a committee to Hart, Schaffner and 
Marx, urging them to restore the quarter-cent cut, but the 
firm refused because they said other workers were quitting 
and refusing to do the work anyway. 

" That was the people in the other departments, and they 
saw there was trouble in the shops * * * so at shops 14 and 
16, the rest of the seamers did not want to do our work, and 
so it was on Wednesday they picked up their tools that they 
should work with, and they did not want to do that work; the 
people went on strike. * ♦ ♦ The foreman threw Morris 
out, and then all the people refused to work." 

Contrary to all precedent, the walk-out in Shop 5 pro- 
voked inmiediate and enthusiastic response in other shops. It 
seemed as if the workers had just been waiting for something 
or someone to give the final push. The news spread through 
the clothing shops of Chicago with amazing rapidity. By 
the next day almost a thousand men and women had left the 
shops and long before three weeks were over, more than 
40,000 were out, and the whole city was affected. Nothing 



THE STRIKE OF 1910 



27 



like it had ever been known before in the history of the cloth- 
ing workers. 

At the very beginning of the strike a group of workers 
went to the oflice of Robert Noren, President of District 
Council No. 6 of the United Garment Workers and appealed 
for help and support in the strike. Noren wired to President 
Rickert for instructions, and was authorized by him to call a 
strike of the garment workers. Here if ever was a chance 
to organize the Chicago clothing workers on a scale never 
before dreamed of, but at the crucial moment, the officers of 
the United Garment Workers for some reason failed to take 
advantage of the opportunity. Even after the strike was 
well under way, in spite of the growing and insistent demand 
for a general strike in all the clothing shops, and in spite of 
the proof that " union label " shops were doing work for 
strike-bound houses, the United Garment Workers hesitated 
to call a general strike until more than 18,000 were already 
out. 

It was about this time that the Chicago Daily Socialist 
first came to the aid of the strikers. On October 7th a 
Special Strike Edition of the Daily Socialist was published, 
and thereafter a series of articles appeared, giving a full and 
detailed history of the progress of the strike. Mr. Robert 
Dvorak, the author of these articles, practically forced the 
hand of the United Garment Workers District Council No. 
6 by threatening to publish a call for a general strike with- 
out waiting longer unless the union did it. But the United 
Garment Workers did call the strike, and within one week 
the number of workers out on strike had grown to 45,000. 
" This great exodus was brought on because 50,000 copies of 
the Daily Socialist containing the call were distributed by 
the strikers throughout the city and in front of the unfair 
concerns' doors." 

The strike grew so fast that District Council No. 6 was 
unable to handle it, and in a few weeks was asking for speak- 
ers to address meetings and for other assistance from the 
Chicago Women's Trade Union League, of which Mrs. Ray- 



28 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

mond Robins was then President. On October 20 the 
League sent the following offer to District Council No. 6: 

** Knowing that your organization is at present involved in 
an extensive strike against the Hart, Schaffner and Marx shops 
and believing that in the consequent great pressure of work 
you may not have realized in what ways the Women's Trade 
Union League may be of use to you, our Executive Board last 
night voted to offer you our services. 

" When our local leagues have definite relationship with a 
strike, we ask that in accepting our assistance the union permit 
two representatives of the League to attend all meetings of the 
strike committee and to authorize such representation through 
a resolution passed by the executive committee of the union. 

*' The reason for this provision is to ensure our keeping in 
touch with the union's plans of work and with fresh develop- 
ments in the situation as these arise, this being the only way 
in which we can intelligently cooperate." 

On October 28th the offer was formally accepted by Presi- 
dent Noren, with the assurance that District Council No. 6 
would be glad to have representatives from the League act 
with the Strike Committee. A Strike Committee was im- 
mediately organized by the League and began to work 
through the following sub-committees: Strike fund com- 
mittee, of which Mrs. Robins was Chairman; Picket Com- 
mittee, of which Miss Steghagen was Chairman, and Miss 
Ellen Gates Starr a member; Grievance Conunittee, under 
the Chairmanship of Miss Katherine Coman, an economist, 
and committees on Co-operation, Organization, Publicity, 
Speakers, Meetings, Relief, Rent, etc. The list of com- 
mittee workers included some of the most prominent citizens 
of Chicago. Men and women of the highest standing and 
reputation in their own fields, representing all occupations 
and classes, from politics to social service, were drawn into 
the fight, and in various ways not only expressed their 
opinions on the issues in favor of the strikers, but worked 
for them and got others to work for them as well. 

On November 2nd the Grievance Committee began activ- 
ities by holding a breakfast-meeting at King's Restaurant, 
where 12 girl strikers told their stories of grievances to the 



THE STRIKE OF 1910 



29 



committee. These stories were later published in a report 
of the Committee, and many of them have already been 
referred to in describing the conditions that led to the strike. 
The report was published with an introduction by Professor 
Coman, summarizing the main grievances, and in this con- 
cise form it became very effective as publicity material. 

A meeting was called at Hull House by Mrs. Robins, 
the result of which was the organization of the " Citizens' 
Committee." This committee published a report on Novem- 
ber 5, prepared by Professor Mead, Miss Breckinridge and 
Miss Nicholes, and based on testimony of employes of 17 
firms and from 31 Hart, Schaffner and Marx shops. The 
opinion and recommendations of the committee were as 
follows: 

"In the opinion of this committee, the natural method of 
removing the causes of irritation in the shops and of making a 
more healthful social life there possible, is some form of shop 
organization among the workers in the shop. The industry 
is so very complicated, the labor so highly subdivided, the de- 
pendence, as yet, of the operatives upon the foremen is so great, 
that it seems next to impossible to bring about normal condi- 
tions, unless the operatives themselves are able to express their 
own views and their own complaints through committees and 
this without fear of loss of position or the enmity of the fore- 
man ♦ • ♦ Some form of representation of the operatives, 
which will mediate between the worker and the employer, seems 
to be necessary in order that the point of view and the condi- 
tions of the operatives may be recognized in the matter of shop 
discipline, and especially in order that minute grievances may 
find a natural expression instead of being piled up to give rise 
to such widespread industrial and social disturbances as we have 
witnessed during the last ten days." 

In the meantime meetings were being organized and 
speakers secured with the help of the Strike Committee. 
Mrs. Raymond Robins, who was at that time directing most 
of the relief work, was herself addressing strike meetings 
and securing speakers. Mrs. Ella Stewart of the National 
American Suffrage Association, Mrs. A. W. Thompson, 
Miss Phelps and many others, as well as women prominent 



80 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

in the English labor movement, such as Miss Margaret 
Bondfield, Miss Marion Ward, Miss Agnes Murphy, and 
Mrs. Philip Snowden, were a few of those who showed what 
they thought of the strike by going to the strikers' halls day 
after day to address mass meetings. Mr. Dvorak writes 
that : "Eighteen of the largest halls in Chicago were packed 
daily — some even twice daily — and speakers in every 
language counselled and spurred the thousands to action." 

But perhaps the most important service rendered by these 
conmiittees in the early days of the strike was that of the 
Picket Committee, whose work not only in aiding the pickets 
but in giving publicity to the outrageous conduct of the 
police and strike-breakers did as much as anything during 
the first few weeks toward swinging the weight of public 
opinion to the side of the strikers. The campaign of violence 
and brutality that the Chicago police entered upon from the 
very beginning was consistent with their attitude in all the 
later strikes of the Chicago clothing workers. It took the 
form not only of injustice and violence on their own part, 
but of winking at such illegal acts as the carrying of con- 
cealed weapons and unprovoked assaults by hired guards 
and strike-breakers or private detectives. Miss Ellen Gates 
Starr and witnesses before the Senate Committee testified 
that the activities of police and of private detectives hired 
to "protect" strike-breakers to and from buildings were 
actually infiuential in spreading the strike. For example, 
one statement was : " There were pickets and detectives out- 
side of the building that we saw when going to work. I 
never worked under police protection before and it worried 
me, and I couldn't work any more." 

All possible efforts were made to maintain peace and 
order in the picket lines, and there was surprisingly little 
violence on the part of the strikers in view of the provoca- 
tion. In an effort to eliminate violence as much as possible, 
the following picket rules were printed and distributed 
among the strikers: 



THE STRIKE OF 1910 



81 



RULES FOR PICKETS. 

Don't walk in groups of more than two or three. 

Don't stand in front of the shop : walk up and down the block. 

Don't stop the person you want to talk to : walk alongside of 

Don't get excited and shout when you are talking. 
Don't put your hand on the person you are talking to. 
Don't touch his sleeve or button : This may be constr 
a technical assault. 



may be construed as 



^^ Don't call anyone « scab " or use abusive language of any 

Plead, persuade, appeal, but do not threaten. 
If a policeman arrests you and you are sure you have com-' 
muted no offense, take his number and give it to your Union 

^^ In spite of these precautions the attacks continued, and 

every day strikers reported to headquarters with tales of 

how they had been shot at and attacked by armed strike- 

S%'*1> r"''*? ! r^'^? "^""^ "^^^^ *^ i^eroy Steward, 

* w! f ^I'^u ^"t^i"^ ^'^'^ ''^^^'^ ^'' ^^^^ ^^g^Iy' ^«d said: 
Wait until the strike is over! ' " 

Miss Steghagen, Miss Ellen Gates Starr and Miss Frank- 
hn, aJl members of the Picket Committee, testified to the 
rough handhng of pickets, of which they were eye-witnesses. 
Miss Starr sent the following account of one case to the 
daily papers: 

m.l7fr"*-^J*l* ^"^ ^ ^Y'^y *'*'"' ^" ventilated and crowded, to 
r„H fK ^' I r^* P^*'' ^"" ""'^^'^y *"^ law-abiding course, 
sSeeu'" ""'^ ""^ ^""' ^^ ^"^°^^^ *"^ Va" B"^^" 

JL^t""^ ^^L^Z '^"""t^ twenty-one or twenty-two men. It 
must be conceded that they ' Obstructed the street ' more than 
a group of three rather small women, who are never allowed to 
stand for an instant, but are ordered, usuaUy roughly, to We 

21 Ti -^if ^"' *^7 ^'^^^^^^^^ These men, it is^tr^e, were 
about their busmess of holding the street for Price & Co T 
addressed myself civilly to a police officer and alk^i him why 
these twenty-two men were allowed to stand on the pavement 
and I was not. He answered (somewhat shamefacedly ; I thLk 
that particular officer did not like his job), that they were all 
sworn officers, and added, ^ Don't ask me quesUoLrVadr 



32 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

* You have your orders, I suppose? ' « Yes, I have.' On which 
I tendered him my sympathy and proceeded to interrogate the 
so-called * officers.' 

** After a time a superior officer arrived who was insolent and 
brutal and absolutely outside his rights, as I was entirely within 
mine. I was then alone having separated myself from the girb, 
and was simply walking back and forth in front of the factory. 
After roughly asking me, ' Who are you? ' and * What are you 
doing here ' and hearing that I was simply a citizen of the 
United States and a settlement worker here in the interest of 
justice and fair play, he informed me that if I passed by once 
more I would be sent to the station. I then withdrew to the 
opposite side of the street and watched matters from there. 

" The modus operandi was to bundle the strikebreakers out, 
surrounded by the hired * detectives,' directly to the cars which 
halted precisely in front of the door so that no pickets should 
be allowed to speak to them." 

In November a committee was appointed to inquire 
whether manufacturers could put up cots in factories for 
scabs. It was in violation of health and building ordinances, 
but the law had been cleverly evaded and the committee 
could do nothing. 

Every day was marked by arrests and assaults, and gen- 
erally at least one riot in some part of the city. Finally the 
climax was reached in December when two pickets were shot 
and killed by strike-breakers. On December 3, Charles 
Laarinskas was attacked and shot in front of the Royal 
Tailors' establishment, and on December 15, Frank Nag- 
reckis was shot while picketing. The death of Lazinskas 
came at a crucial moment for the strikers, while an agree- 
ment was being negotiated in the office of the Mayor of 
Chicago. The effect of his death and funeral on the attitude 
of the workers toward the agreement is described in an 
article by Mr. Dvorak: 

** There never was a funeral in Chicago such as was held in 
the case of the murdered garment-striker. Thousands of men, 
women and girls marched. On their coat lapels each striker 
had a piece of crepe pinned down with the union botton of the 
garment workers. * ♦ ♦ At Hod Carriers Hall, after the 
funeral they condemned the pending agreement in the most 
bitter terms." 




Charles Lazinskas 



Frank Nagreckis 




Strikers Killed in 1910 Strike 



32 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

' You have your orders, I suppose? ' * Yes, I have.' On which 
I tendered him my sympathy and proceeded to interrogate the 
so-called * officers.' 

" After a time a superior officer arrived who was insolent and 
brutal and absolutely outside his rights, as I was entirely within 
mine. I was then alone having separated myself from the girls, 
and was simply walking back and forth in front of the factory. 
After roughly asking me, * Who are you? ' and ' What are you 
doing liere ' and hearing that I was simply a citizen of the 
United States and a settlement worker here in the interest of 
justice and fair play, he informed me that if I passed by once 
more I would be sent to the station. I then withdrew to the 
opposite side of the street and watched matters from there. 

" The modus operandi was to bundle the strikebreakers out, 
surrounded by the hired * detectives,' directly to the cars which 
halted precisely in front of the door so that no pickets should 
be allowed to speak to them." 

In November a committee was appointed to inquire 
whether manufacturers could put up cots in factories for 
scabs. It was in violation of health and building ordinances, 
but the law had been cleverly evaded and the committee 
could do nothing. 

Every day was marked by arrests and assaults, and gen- 
erally at least one riot in some part of the city. Finally the 
climax was reached in December when two pickets were shot 
and killed by strike-breakers. On December 3, Charles 
Lazinskas was attacked and shot in front of the Royal 
Tailors' establislmient, and on December 15, Frank Nag- 
reclds was shot while picketing. The death of Lazinskas 
came at a crucial moment for the strikers, while an agree- 
ment was being negotiated in the office of the Mayor of 
Chicago. The effect of his death and funeral on the attitude 
of the workers toward the agreement is described in an 
article by Mr. Dvorak: 

" There never was a funeral in Chicago such as was held in 
the case of the murdered garment-striker. Thousands of men, 
women and girls marched. On their coat lapels each striker 
had a piece of crepe pinned down with the union botton of the 
garment workers. * ♦ ♦ At Hod Carriers Hall, after the 
funeral they condemned the pending agreement in the most 
bitter terms." 




riiarlc's Lazinskas 



Frank Xagreckis 




Strikers Killed in 1910 Strike 




THE STRIKE OF 1910 



33 



This incident and a great parade and demonstration of the 
strikers in protest against the brutality of the police pro- 
duced a marked effect on public opinion, and thereafter 
there was considerably less violence. 

Early in November important changes were made in the 
organization and control of the strike work, by the creation 
of what was called the Joint Strike Conference Board. The 
change was made necessary by reason of the loss of faith 
of the workers in their own leaders among the United Gar- 
ment Workers. Just as the strike appeared to be progress- 
mg with enthusiasm and a fair chance of success, Mr. Rick- 
ert, President of the United Garment Workers, signed the " 
following agreement with the firm of Hart, Schaffner and 
Marx, dated November 5, and submitted it to the strikers 
for their vote: 



" AGREEMENT SIGNED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE 
UNITED GARMENT WORKERS OF AMERICA AND 
THE FIRM OF HART, SCHAFFNER AND MARX. 

"The International President of the United Garment Workers 
of America agrees to recommend the return of all former em- 
ployees of Hart, Schaffner and Marx upon the understanding 
between himself and the heads of the firm that one person shall 
be selected by the firm and one by the United Garment Workers 
of America, these two to select a third, and these three to take 
up the alleged grievances of the former employees of the firm 
and to devise methods, both as to redress and the avoidance of 
like difficulties in the future. 

" This instrument shall not be considered as a recognition of 
the union, nor shall the question of union or open shop organi- 
zation be submitted to or passed upon by the committee ap- 
pointed herein; nor shall the question of open shop be con- 
sidered as a grievance on the part of the former employees of 
Hart, Schaffner and Marx." *^ 

As Rickert himself records in his report to the United 
Garment Workers' Convention in 1 91 2: " To my surprise 
the people voted it down— they gave it practically little or 
no consideration." 

How the strikers felt about the agreement was only too 
evident m the promptness and vehemence with which they 



84 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

rejected it, and Rickert was forced to drop the plan and 
turn his attention seriously to the important work of 
organization. But he had lost the confidence of his people. 
The strikers, their faith not only in Rickert, but in many of 
their other leaders having been shaken, appealed for help to 
the Chicago Federation of Labor. Mr. John Fitzpatrick, 
President of the Chicago Federation of Labor, agreed to 
help them and from that time on devoted his entire time to 
their cause. The result of the strikers' appeal was the 
organization of the new Joint Strike Conference Board. 
The Board consisted of two representatives each from the 
United Garment Workers of America, District Council 
No. 6, Strike Conunittee of Special Order Garment Work- 
ers, Strike Conunittee of Ready Made Garment Workers, 
Chicago Federation of Labor, and the Women's Trade 
Union League. This Board took over all work that had 
formerly been handled by independent committees from 
each of the organizations represented. 

The problem of strike benefits and the need for organized 
relief was brought home to the strikers and the Committee 
by an incident that occurred on the 11th of November. Some- 
thing like ten thousand people came to the headquarters at 
275 La Salle Street. The crowd, many thousands of men, 
women and children, were denied admittance to the larger 
wheat pit on the ground floor which it was understood had 
been reserved for their use. They were not permitted to 
stay because the fire department feared a disaster. The 
great crowd gathered in the street in front of the building. 
All had relief orders for various amounts but there was no 
money in the treasury. The indignation and excitement 
cannot be described. Finally, John Fitzpatrick addressed 
the crowd from the fire-escape, explaining that they would 
be attended to in their various halls. The strikers repaired 
to the halls. Some had in despair and anger destroyed their 
vouchers. Some received their strike pay. It was a heart- 
rending sight as from early morning till late afternoon they 
waited in the halls, the corridors and outside in the streets. 
Finally, Mr. Fitzpatrick addressed them, explaining that 





John Fitzpatrick 



Mrs. Raymond Robins 




Jane Addams 





Ellen Gates Starr 



Edward N. Nockles 



84 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

rejected it, and Rickert was forced to drop the plan and 
turn his attention seriously to the important work of 
organization. But he had lost the confidence of his people. 
The strikers, their faith not only in Rickert, but in many of 
their other leaders having been shaken, appealed for help to 
the Chicago Federation of Labor. Mr. John Fitzpatrick, 
President of the Chicago Federation of Labor, agreed to 
help them and from that time on devoted his entire time to 
their cause. The result of the strikers' appeal was the 
organization of the new Joint Strike Conference Board. 
The Board consisted of two representatives each from the 
United Garment Workers of America, District Council 
No. 6, Strike Conmiittee of Special Order Garment Work- 
ers, Strike Committee of Ready Made Garment Workers, 
Chicago Federation of Labor, and the Women's Trade 
Union League. This Board took over all work that had 
formerly been handled by independent committees from 
each of the organizations represented. 

The problem of strike benefits and the need for organized 
relief was brought home to the strikers and the Committee 
bv an incident that occurred on the 11th of November. Some- 
thing like ten thousand people came to the headquarters at 
275 La Salle Street. The crowd, many thousands of men, 
women and children, were denied admittance to the larger 
wheat pit on the ground floor which it was understood had 
been reserved for their use. They were not permitted to 
stay because the fire department feared a disaster. The 
great crowd gathered in the street in front of the building. 
All had relief orders for various amounts but there was no 
money in the treasury. The indignation and excitement 
cannot be described. Finally, John Fitzpatrick addressed 
the crowd from the fire-escape, explaining that they would 
be attended to in their various halls. The strikers repaired 
to the halls. Some had in despair and anger destroyed their 
vouchers. Some received their strike pay. It was a heart- 
rending sight as from early morning till late afternoon they 
waited in the halls, the corridors and outside in the streets. 
Finally, Mr. Fitzpatrick addressed them, explaining that 





riohn Fitzj)atrick 



Mrs. Ra^'inoiul Robins 




Jane Addanis 





Ellen Gates Starr 



Edward X. Xockles 



THE STRIKE OF 1910 



35 





they would be attended to in their various halls." Miss 
Nestor of the Relief Committee went around with the Pay- 
ing Committee from hall to hall redeeming the vouchers. 

It was evident that some organized method of relief must 
be undertaken, and the Strike Conference decided on a plan. 
All the vouchers that were out were to be redeemed but no 
more were to be issued. At the suggestion of Mr. Fitzpat- 
rick, the Committee decided to establish conmiissarv stores 
along the lines successfully followed by the United Mine 
Workers and the Building Trades Council. In the operation 
of these commissaries, Mr. James Mullenbach was called 
into consultation, and with his help and that of his assist- 
ants the Board opened four commissary stores, one on 
Lincoln Street, one on Blue Island Avenue, one on Johnson 
Street and the fourth at West Fourteenth Place. Strike 
benefits were given not in cash but in fixed rations, varying 
with the size of the family. Tickets were issued by Mr. 
Fitzpatrick to the various shop chairmen who distributed 
them to the strikers, each ticket being issued on a monthly 
basis and entitling the holder to call for supplies weekly. 
Signatures of the shop chairmen were checked up on each 
ticket by the superintendent in the stores. The amount and 
kind of relief afforded by these tickets can be seen from the 
following list of rations allowed a family of five for one 
week: 

Bread, eighteen loaves; sugar, five pounds; oatmeal, two 
large packages; coffee, one pound; beans, five pounds; ham, 
ten pounds. 

The opening of commissary stores was only one form of 
relief work undertaken by the Strike Conference Board. 
Lunch rooms for pickets were maintained at convenient lo- 
cations. A separate committee handled the problem of rent 
relief and members of the committee went around personally 
interviewing the landlords. The gas company was found to 
be sympathetic and in no case was gas turned off after the 
situation had been explained by a member of the committee. 
Coal was secured at wholesale prices and in cases of need 
supplied by the committee out of the relief funds. 



36 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

But with all their efforts, the Board could not have handled 
the tremendous work of relief had it not been for the gen- 
erous and continuous support of other organizations and 
of individuals who gave their time, money, supplies, and 
whatever influence they had to the cause, of the strikers. The 
commissary stores themselves were ably assisted by men and 
women who gave their services free of charge, or whose 
services were paid for by the organizations they represented. 
Groceries were purchased from companies that sold them at 
wholesale prices and frequently at cost prices. The editor 
of the Jewish Courier, Mr. Lipsky, with the assistance of 
others, carried on relief through orders on local grocery 
stores and kosher butchers. A fund for milk was started 
by Mrs. Bowen with the contribution of one thousand dollars 
and her own services as Chairman of the committee. In 
addition the Citizens' Committee furnished 124,075 quarts of 
milk up to February 2. But the greatest contribution along 
those lines was made by the Jewish Workingmen's Confer- 
ence. For ten weeks they issued individual meal tickets 
weekly to three thousand strikers entitling them to one meal 
a day. The tickets were issued on restaurants in three im- 
portant centers and were good for seven 15-cent meals. 
Altogether it is estimated that the Jewish Workingmen s 
Conference contributed about thirty-five thousand dollars to 
the relief of the strikers. 

Public sympathy manifested itself in many other ways. 
Clothing and shoes were distributed to the workers from 
Northwestern University settlement, Hull House, and many 
other centers of distribution. Labor papers all over the 
country took up the fight and unions began to send m cash 
donations. The Chicago Daily Socialist through its sale ol 
strike editions was able to turn in the sum of three thousand 
dollars for the rehef of the strikers. The Jewish Vorwaerts 
of New York raised $415 for relief and added to it $1,800 
collected by a house-to-house canvass of the Jewish district 
in Chicago, given through the Jewish Workingmen's Con- 
ference. All kinds of professional people offered their 
services. " Doctors agreed to treat patients free of charge. 



THE STRIKE OF 1910 



37 



Barbers gave free shaves, theatres gave benefit per- 
formances. Private families housed and fed homeless 
strikers. Druggists gave free drugs. Grocers and butchers 
gave free food supplies to the various free supply and re- 
lief stations. Clubs and societies gave benefit balls and 
entertainments. Song writers and artists offered their pro- 
ductions and gave the strikers the full profits, and the hotel 
keepers refused to house the strike breakers." The Chicago 
City Club Bulletin printed texts of successful agreements 
then in existence in New York and Philadelphia. The 
Political Equality League made inquiries and many other 
leagues and clubs followed its example with requests for 
information and for speakers informed on the subject to 
address meetings. Business Men's Groups asked at head- 
quarters how they might be sure that they were not guying 
Hart, SchaflFner and Marx garments, and many retail 
houses found it profitable to remove labels of strikq-bound 
houses from their garments. The Illinois Suffrage lissocia- 
tion sent in financial contributions, the Socialist Women's 
Strike Committee gave valuable assistance throughout the 
strike, and churches of all denominations responded with 
generous contributions. A letter advocating arbitration and 
organization of the workers was sent by the Reverend Jenkin 
Lloyd Jones, endorsed by the Industrial Committee of the 
Churches of Chicago, to Hart, Schaffner and Marx. When 
no reply came from the firm the letter and a statement of 
the whole circumstance were issued as an open letter. The 
following excerpts are enough to show the general tenor 
of the letter: 

** The following members of the Industrial Committee of the 
Churches of Chicago call the attention of the public to the ac- 
companying letter. 

** The principles and methods it advocates are already exten- 
sively used in industry in Chicago and throughout the country, 
and have promoted a large measure of industrial peace. 

** Wc believe that the time has come for public opinion in 
Chicago to voice from all possible sources, a demand for their 
application to the garment-making industry, and particularly 
for the settlement of the present strike by some joint agreement 
between the contending parties. 



-I 



88 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

REV. JENKIN LLOYD JONES' LETTER. 

" * The following communication was addressed to the firm 
fifteen days ago. Whether in the travail it ever reached the 
eyes of the firm, I have no way of knowing. I now give it to 
the public, hoping that it will help make public sentiment. The 
developments of the last two weeks confirm the conviction ex- 
pressed in the letter. The only way for employers out of this 
trouble is through it. Once the willingness to deal with the 
employees in their organized capacity is reaUzed it would be 
quite possible to organize a disinterested, high minded, per- 
manent court of appeal to which perplexities too great to be 
solved by the two parties could be referred. 

** * You can doubtless crush out this instinct to cooperate 
among your employees, but it will only be for a time— the march 
of civilization is back of them and against you. All the higher 
handicrafts have practically vindicated their rights to organize. 

" * Has not the time gone by when the intelligent business 
man can talk about " his business being interfered with " by 
those who have no rights in it when labor makes demands? 
Legally speaking, the title is yet vested in your corporation ; 
but ethically speaking, the thousands of employees who help 
make your business, without which your business cannot con- 
tinue, are partners in the concern; they have vested rights: 
many of them have brought their families across the seas ; they 
have staked their earthly careers in their vocations, and have 
acquired an efficiency oftentimes through successive generations, 
which constitute an asset, which may well be set against your 
capital ♦ • ♦ Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of your em- 
ployees are traveling over the road which your forbears have 
traveled. They ar^ getting ready to take your places when you 
are gone. They have a right to be reckoned with by organized 
capital as organized labor.' " 

The following is a summary of the purely financial con- 
tributions received by the Strike Committee of the Women's 
Trade Union League, taking no account of services or 
supplies given free of charge: 

Organized Labor ^*^'^oo 

Socialist Women's Strike Committee 6,482 

Churches ^'JJ^ 

Clubs ^^^ 

SociaUst Party ^>l^l 

Employes ^06 

Teachei s and students "85 



THE STRIKE OF 1910 



89 



Individuals 8,575 

Chicago Daily Socialist (Collections) 2,800 

Card (Collections) 4.79 

Miscellaneous (Collections) 2,774j 

PoHsh SociaHsts 1 J60 

District Council No. 6, Donations 4,000 

We have already seen how the publicity given by the 
committees to the grievances of the workers and to the treat- 
ment of strikers by the police influenced the opinion of the 
general public. But another factor was brought to bear 
on public opinion during the course of the strike, that proved 
to be as potent as the others in rousing a sense of the in- 
justice of the situation. This factor was the stubborn un- 
willingness shown by both associations of manufacturers 
to arbitrate the demands of the workers or even to treat 
with them. The first eflfective evidence of this attitude ap- 
peared in connection with another attempt at settlement, 
this time initiated by the action of Alderman Merriam. 
After several unsuccessful attempts, a resolution was finally 
passed by the City Council providing for the appointment 
of a committee to arbitrate and attempt to settle the strike. 
Representatives of the firm of Hart, Schaflfner and Marx 
agreed to meet the committee and the union leaders in an 
attempt to arrive at some agreement, but members of the 
manufacturers' associations refused to participate in a con- 
ference if any union representatives were present. Alder- 
man Merriam in a statement to one of the daily papers after 
meeting with representatives of both associations, said: 

" They declared they would not consent to any arbitration 
of the questions at issue in any form or upon any terms. They 
further stated that they expected their own employees to return 
unconditionally if the agreement with Hart, Schaffner and 
Marx was ratified. Arbitration is a firmly fixed principle in 
industrial disputes, and in my judgment it ought to be applied 
in this case. Those who decline to accept it assume a grave 
responsibility to the community. If industrial war continues 
the public should know exactly where this responsibility lies." 

Even more eflfective than the publicity thus given to the 
employers' attitude toward the proposed arbitration were 



i 



40 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

the disclosures made later by an Illinois Senate Committee 
appointed to investigate into the causes and facts of tlie 
strike by a resolution passed in the Senate January 10. The 
Committee consisted of Senators Henson, O'Connor, 
McKenzie, Johnson and Gibson. Although the report of 
the Committee to the Senate was not made until March 9, 
a great deal of publicity was given to the testimony pre- 
sented during its two weeks of hearings in January. In 
reply to an invitation by the Senators to the Association to 
submit a plan of settlement, Mr. Rose, President of the 
National Wholesale Tailors Association, sent the following 
letter: 

**The National Wholesale Tailors Association respectfully 
declines to submit to such a proposition, as no strike now 
exists in our branch of the industry. All of our employes whom 
we can use have returned to work." 

The Chairman of the Senate Committee, in response to 
this refusal, which was incorporated in the minutes, made 
the following statement : 

" I want to say this for the benefit of the balance of the com- 
mittee, that the state of Illinois and the people of Chicago can- 
not permit some manufacturers or labor unions to arbitrarily 
stop the wheels of progress in Illinois and cause suffering, and 
I am very frank to say to you that if I had the power I would 
put the men in jail who refused to arbitrate this question now. 
♦ • • No controversy can occur without a grievance.*' 

Even newspapers hostile to the strikers up to this time 
condemned this attitude in editorial comments such as this : 

" Hunger and cold as potent peace makers alienate the 
sympathy of the great majority of reasonable and humane 

citizens." 

Important evidence was disclosed also by the Senate 
Investigation Committee concerning the blacklist system 
carried on by the Medinah Temple labor office. The 
following examples are typical of the testimony of other 
witnesses: 

Witness: In Nov., 1914, I worked at Fred Kaufman's and 
we went out at noon. Then I was out about 6 or 8 months and 



THE STRIKE OF 1910 



41 



after that I applied for a position at the Medinah Temple office 
and they refused to give it to me until I resigned from the 

union. I did so. 

Chairman: Who asked you to resign? 

Witness: Mr. Isaacs. [Mr. Isaacs was known to practi- 
cally all the workers and was called to testify himself before 
the Committee. He was in charge of the so-called Labor Bu- 
reau, and kept records of all the workers.] I handed in my 
resignation and then they promised me a position but never 
gave it to me and they told me to come over from one day to 
the next. He asked me one day if I would do him a favor and 
I asked him what it was, and he offered me $10 to go to the 
organization headquarters and secure him the names of those 
men in the office at that time. I went but could not find any- 
body there except officials. After that I went back to Mr. 
Isaacs' office and gave him the names and he asked me if I got 
any more names, and I said : " Here are the names of the men 
in the office at present." He said " These men I got. I don't 
want those names but get the names that I have not got." He 
showed me some letters and tears off the bottom and says: 
** These names I have gotten from men who send me the reports 
every day." He said : " They find out who you are and what 
you are and what goes on in the union, and then report to me 
every day." He said : " They are paid by me for doing this." 

He gave me $5 for that and said " I will give you the other 
$5 when you get some more. I will give you a week's time. In 
the meantime I will try and find you a position," which he did. 

• ♦ ♦ I worked there from August to September and then 
was discharged without reason. 

I went back to Isaacs and he said : " You go over and get 
me some more names and I will see what I can do." 

After that I went to the Chicago Tailors and asked for a posi- 
tion without going to the office. Mr. Strauss hired me and 
asked whether I had a card. I said " No, but I can get it." He 
said : " I will telephone over and see if you are all right." 

[The witness worked in this shop 3 or 4 days and then met 
some union boys and went to a meeting and finally decided to 
go out on strike with the others in that shop. When he got 
to the union office he found a message waiting for him to the 
effect that if he did not come and take away his tools they would 
be thrown out. He went back and took his tools and went out.] 

Then I went to Isaacs afterward, time and time again for 
positions and he said : " No. We can't do anything for you, 
you will starve in Chicago. There is nothing for you ; we will 
not give you a job." 



42 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

[The witness went to Detroit and after more than a year 
wrote to Isaacs to see if he could get a job yet and Isaacs wrote 
him a letter, saying that Association houses were working on 
an open shop plan. On his return the witness went to Mr. 
Tobias and Mr. Morris, both associated with Mr. Isaacs in the 
Medinah Temple office, but was not able to get anything at all. 
He was completely barred from employment in all Association 
houses from that time on.] 

Another witness testified that he was told to go to Medinah 
Temple for a permit to work and they wouldn't give it, but gave 
no reason whatever. He was required to resign from the uniox^ 
before he could get any work after going out on strike. 

Another witness claimed that he was blacklisted in St. Louis 
because of his union activities and when he tried to get work in 
Chicago he found that the Medinah Temple Office had his com- 
plete record and he was blacklisted again. 

Another witness, the wife of a cutter, testified that her hus- 
band had been unable to get work for a long time. " I went to 
Mr. Isaacs because my husband always came home with the 
same story that he could not get a permit to go to work an4 
at last I became doubtful and I said I'd like to know the reason 
why and I should go and see what was stopping him from getting 
a position. He gave me Isaacs' address and I went to see him. 

" He told me, after I asked him what was the matter, that he 
(my husband) acted as a radical during the strike and that 
they had not forgotten about it. I asked him if he had any 
proofs ♦ • ♦ and he said no, but they had a list of matters 
that they knew about him and that was enough." 

Chairman : " Did they say your husband's name was men- 
tioned in that list?" 

Witness: "Yes Sir. I told him that it was hard for me 
and that from my marriage my husband was considered a good 
workman, but he said he could do nothing." 

In its report to the Senate, the Committee made the fol- 
lowing conmients on the evidence in regard to blacklisting : 

" Your committee wish to report that in view of the testimony 
and the wording of the statutes, we are constrained to believe 
that the maintenance and operation of the said labor bureau in 
the Medinah Temple, in the city of Chicago, in so far as it pre- 
vents persons from securing employment, is in violation of the 
statutes of the State of Illinois, and is derogatory to the rights 
and interests of the workers, and that the same should be imme- 
diately dissolved." 



THE STRIKE OF 1910 



43 



In the meantime, Rickert and other officers of the United 
Garment Workers were pressing a new agreement on the 
strikers. Hart, Schaflfner and Marx agreed to meet a com- 
mittee of the strikers, as suggested by Alderman Merriam, 
although the Association houses refused. The proposed 
agreement resulting from this meeting with Hart, Schaff ner 
and Marx, known as the City Hall Agreement, provided 
briefly for the return of all former employees of Hart, 
Schaffner and Marx, except those who were guilty of vio- 
lence, within fifteen days from the date of signing; no dis- 
crimination against any employees because of membership or 
activity in a union; and for the creation of an Arbitration 
Conunittee of five, two members selected by each party and 
the fifth by those four, to take up and consider the grievances 
of the employees and devise a method for settling those griev- 
ances in the future. 

This agreement, backed by the full approval and endorse- 
ment of the Joint Strike Conference Board, the United Gar- 
ment Workers' officers, and the Mayor of Chicago, was 
presented to the strikers for their consideration. But the 
strikers were unmistakably opposed to the terms. The 
grounds for their opposition were in the main as follows: 

1. Inasmuch as the agreement affected only Hart, 
Schaffner and Marx workers, acceptance of it would break 
the strike of other workers who would still be out. It was 
too much like a betrayal of their fellow strikers. 

2. The clause in the agreement providing that workers 
guilty of violence would not be reinstated created a great 
deal of resentment. 

8. The agreement contained no specific and definite 
recognition of the union. 

A great deal of pressure was brought to bear on the 
strikers to accept this agreement, but finally on December 
8th, eight days after the proposed agreement was put before 
the strikers, Rickert admitted that " the people had ex- 
pressed their disapproval." In his report to the United 
Garment Workers' Convention in 1912, Rickert says: " In 
turning down this agreement, the people repudiated the 



44 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 



Strike Board and Settlement Committee which had recom- 
mended its acceptance." The Strike Conference Board, 
however, in the words of the Women's Trade Union League 
Report, " recognized the supreme right of the strikers to 
make the final decision on their own affairs " and again 
resumed the conduct of the strike. The following letter was 
sent to the City Council Committee and the Mayor inform- 
ing them of the workers' decision : 

" We beg leave to report to you the refusal of the workers 
of Hart, Schaifner and Marx now on strike to accept the plan 
of settlement as recommended by us. 

'* Every reasonable effort has been made to secure a favorable 
result in the submission of this plan of settlement to the striking 
employes of Hart, Schaffner and Marx. 

•* The refusal of the representatives of the National Whole- 
sale Tailors' Association and the National Wholesale Clothiers' 
Association to accept these terms of settlement and the public 
declaration of their determination to ' fight to a finish ' has re- 
sulted in a feeling of resentment among the strikers and a^ 
natural desire to stand or fall together. • ♦ * " 

The first settlement occurred on January 9, when the 
firm of Sturm Mayer settled with its strikers and reinstated 
all of them. 

On the 11th of January, Rickert presented another plan 
to the Joint Conference Board and Strikers' Committee, 
authorizing the Board to offer an agreement to any of the 
firms willing to accept its terms. The terms were briefly as 
follows: 

1. All former employees were to return within ten days 
of the signing of the agreement. No mention was made of 
exceptions in the case of those guilty of violence. 

2. There must be no discrimination against workers be- 
cause of membership in the United Garment Workers of 
America, 

8. An arbitration committee of three was to be chosen, 
for the purpose of considering and adjusting all other griev- 
ances, and their ruling was to be binding. 



THE STRIKE OF 1910 



45 



The Board passed a resolution approving the agreement 
and appointed a conmiittee composed of Rickert, Mrs. 
Robins, Mr. Fitzpatrick, and Mr. Harris (a member of the 
Strikers' Executive Conunittee), to consider a settlement. 
Hart, Schaffner and Marx signified their willingness to 
accept this agreement, and it was then presented to the 
striking Hart, Schaffner and Marx workers. 

The strike, so far as the workers of Hart, Schaffner and 
Marx were concerned, was almost over. A mass-meeting 
of the strikers was held in Hod Carriers' Hall. The meet- 
ing was addressed, among others, by Hillman and Marim- 
pietri. They urged acceptance of the terms of the agree- 
ment, which provided for the return of all workers, without 
discrimination because of either union membership or activ- 
ity, and for the establishment of arbitration machinery in 
the adjustment of present and future grievances. The terms 
meant substantially, if not literally, union recognition. It 
was for this and for the removal of just grievances that the 
strikers had been fighting for months. There was, of course, 
some opposition to these terms. But after considerable dis- 
cussion, the proposed agreement was ratified and the forward 
march of organized labor in Hart, Schaffner and Marx 
began. 

Mr. Rickert's account of the same event, in his report to 
the United Garment Workers' Convention, was as follows: 

** The plan was submitted to the people in the various halls 
and was approved in all but three of them ; and in these three, 
the workers who had gathered there were not employees of Hart, 
Schaffner and Marx • * * Some of those who had been in 
favor of it went around to the halls and in the public highways 
afterwards denouncing it because it did not provide for a closed 
shop." 

The result was that the agreement as approved by the 
Joint Conference Board was signed by Hart, Schaffner and 
Marx and by Mr. Rickert and went into effect on January 
14, all the strikers of that firm returning to work. The 
others, of course, were still out on strike. 



46 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

On February 8rd, at a meeting of the Strikers' Executive 
Committee at which Mr. Rickert and his organizers were the 
only ones present, the general strike was suddenly declared 
oflF. This action was taken without the slightest warning, 
without a referendum vote of the strikers, without even 
formal consultation or meeting with the Joint Conference 
Board, which for 14 weeks had had charge of the strike, and 
which represented the organizations that had been giving 
their time, money and resources so generously to the 
strikers. It was done while representatives of the Chicago 
Federation of Labor and the Women's Trade Union League, 
the principal organizations in the Board besides the United 
Garment Workers, were present in the building and even 
on the same floor. The Women's Trade Union League 
called it a " hunger bargain." The workers, already hard- 
pressed by the long winter months of privation, their faith 
already shaken in their leaders, were now demoralized by 
this action, and had no choice but to give in. The strike 

was over. 

As many as could returned to work. Many who went 
back to their old shops were refused employment. Others 
encountered conditions even more intolerable than before. 
A frequent answer to those seeking re-employment would 
be: " You're a good speaker, go down to your halls again, 
they want you there." And so they trickled back, a few at 
a time, with a deep and underlying bitterness toward those 
who had turned their long fight into apparent defeat. They 
returned without agreement, without concessions, without 
any guarantee for fair treatment, without any adjustment 
or means of adjustment for the grievances that had driven 
them to strike. 

Yet in more important ways, even for those who went 
back to Association houses, the strike had not ended in 
defeat. Out of it rose a new generation of young leaders 
who were to help the clothing workers rise to a position of 
security, power and well-being that sets a standard for other 
industries. It was in the strike of 1910 that the names of 
Sidney Hillman, Frank Rosenblum, Sam Levin, A. D. 




46 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

On February 3rd, at a meeting of the Strikers' Executive 
Committee at which Mr. Rickert and his organizers were the 
only ones present, the general strike was suddenly declared 
off. This action was taken without the slightest warning, 
without a referendum vote of the strikers, without even 
formal consultation or meeting with the Joint Conference 
Board, which for 14 weeks had had charge of the strike, and 
which represented the organizations that had been giving 
their time, money and resources so generously to the 
strikers. It was done while representatives of the Chicago 
Federation of Labor and the Women's Trade Union League, 
the principal organizations in the Board besides the United 
Garment Workers, were present in the building and even 
on the same floor. The Women's Trade Union League 
called it a " hunger bargain." The workers, already hard- 
pressed by the long winter months of privation, their faith 
already shaken in their leaders, were now demoralized by 
this action, and had no choice but to give in. The strike 

was over. 

As many as could returned to work. ^Many who went 
back to their old shops were refused employment. Others 
encountered conditions even more intolerable than before. 
A frequent answer to those seeking re-employment would 
be: " You're a good speaker, go down to your halls again, 
they want you there." And so they trickled back, a few at 
a time, with a deep and underlying bitterness toward those 
who had turned their long fight into apparent defeat. They 
returned without agreement, without concessions, without 
any guarantee for fair treatment, without any adjustment 
or means of adjustment for the grievances that had driven 
them to strike. 

Yet in more important ways, even for those who went 
back to Association houses, the strike had not ended in 
defeat. Out of it rose a new generation of young leaders 
who were to help the clothing workers rise to a position of 
security, power and well-being that sets a standard for other 
industries. It was in the strike of 1910 that the names of 
Sidney Hilhnan, Frank Rosenblimi, Sam Levin, A. D. 





« 










^^ --MP" 


> 


<71 -rJ_g.OS~ 




Joseph Scliaffncr 





/ 




THE STRIKE OF 1910 



4T 



Marimpietri and many other future leaders of the workers 
first emerge. With the rise of these leaders there appeared 
also not only the hope of a new regime, but a long, steady ac- 
tive drive toward its attainment. The organization of the 
Hart, Schaffner and Marx \vorkers meant alhiost as much to 
all the other clothing workers of Chicago as to themselves. 
From 1910 imtil the final triumph in 1919, Chicago was 
the scene of a series of attempts to organize the entire mar- 
ket. Without the nucleus formed by the organized Hart, 
Schaffner and Marx workers, and without their constant 
efforts and support, which they were only in a position to 
give as a result of the strike, Chicago might still be an 
unorganized sweat-shop market. 

The results of the strike as far as the Hart, Schaffner and 
Marx workers themselves are concerned are obvious. Aside 
from all consideration of improved conditions, wages, hours, 
the agreement of 1911 meant the beginning of a relationship 
between the firm and its employees, unbroken by whatever 
storms swept over the rest of the Chicago clothing industry, 
and undisturbed even by the clothing workers' revolution in 
1914. It meant the practical and successful working out of 
an experiment in collective bargaining and the development 
of the idea of permanent impartial machinery for the adjust- 
ment of industrial disputes. 

As a means of educating and training the workers for 
organization and organized activity, the strike was of the 
utmost value. It was not only a matter of technical training 
in the method of organizing and conducting a strike, but of 
the actual knowledge of each other's condition and realiza- 
tion of their community of interest. As a result of this 
realization and of the bond that always comes of fighting 
a common enemy against heavy odds, the workers came out 
of the fight with a new sense of their fellowship with each 
other; with a spirit of solidarity that would not be defeated; 
and with a new consciousness of the fact that as their griev- 
ances were not individual but common, their hope for the 
future lay not in separate but in conmion action. 



48 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

" The one great proof that the strikers have learned the les- 
son of solidarity and unity of action lies in the fact that meet- 
ings independent of the Federation of Labor or the Garment 
Workers Union have been held twice weekly smce the ending 
of the strike. The meetings have been well attended, the halls 
being just as full as at any time of the strike. The tailors arq 
studying and when another strike does come another story will 
be written.'' 

It is clear from this statement that one of the important 
lessons the strike taught the workers was how far it was safe 
to entrust their hopes to their past leaders. Thus in the 
very failure of this strike can be seen, in the light of the later 
events, the signs of future success and of the final break 
in 1914- 



CHAPTER III 

THE DEVELOPMENT OF ARBITRATION 

The agreement that was signed on January 14, 1911, be- 
tween the firm of Hart, Schaffner and Marx and the Joint 
Board of its employees was a«imple document. But it 
marked the beginning of a period of uninterrupted peace 
between the company and its organized employees, undis- 
turbed by the industrial storms that again and again swept 
over the Chicago clothing market in the next eight years. 

The importance of the agreement to the workers lay pri- 
marily in two results that it accomplished. First, through 
the recognition and strengthening of the organized workers 
of Hart, Schaffner and Marx, the great campaigns for the 
organization of the rest of the market were made possible. 
The spirit of the unorganized workers was maintained and 
strengthened with the help of the organized until the final 
triumph of 1919. Secondly, the agreement of 1911 was the 
nucleus out of which has developed the present successful 
agreement, with its elaborate system for the arbitration and 
adjustment of labor problems and for the preservation of 
industrial law and order. Throughout the history of this 
agreement the development of the power and strength of the 
organized workers can be measured by the changes made in 
the agreement. With the growth of that power can be traced 
also the development of the intricate machinery established 
under the agreement and of the code of industrial law that 
now governs the relations between the union and the firm. 

The text of the first agreement, which ended the strike of 
1910, outlines briefly the conditions for the return of the 
strikers: 



u 



First: All the former employees of Hart, Schaffner and 
Marx who are now on strike shall be taken back and shall return 
to work within 10 days from the date hereof. 

" Second : There shall be no discrimination of any kind 
whatsoever against any of the employees of Hart, Schaffner 



! 



I 



(f 



i 



50 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

and Marx, because they are or they are not members of th^ 
United Garment Workers of America. 

"Third: An arbitration committee, consisting of three 
members, shall be appointed. Within three days from the date 
thereof the employees of Hart, Schaffner and Marx shall select 
one member thereof; within three days thereafter Hart, Schaff- 
ner and Marx shall select one member thereof; and the two mem- 
bers thus selected shall immediately proceed to select the third 
member of such committee. 

" Fourth: Subject to the provisions of this agreement, said 
arbitration committee shall take up, consider, and adjust what^ 
ever grievances, if any, the employees of Hart, Schaffner and 
Marx who are now on strike shall have and shall ^x a method for 
the settlement of grievances, if any, in the future. The finding 
of the said committee or a majority thereof, shall be binding on 
both parties." 
Hart, Schaffner and Marx at the time of the signing of 
this agreement were employing about 6,000 workers, men, 
women and girls, who were represented by a Joint Board, 
composed of delegates from local miions of the United Gar- 
ment Workers and three delegates from the Women's Trade 
Union League. Under the third clause of the agreement, 
each side selected one arbitrator, the Joint Board of the 
local unions appointing Mr. Clarence Darrow as their arbi- 
trator and the company, Mr. Carl Meyer. These two then 
met to select jointly the third arbitrator. Dean Wigmore 
of Northwestern University Law School was agreed on, but 
was miable to serve, and the two arbitrators could not agree 
on another third member at that time. It was; finally decided 
that the two arbitrators should, for the time being, act 
alone as the Board of Arbitration. Working under this 
arrangement, on March 13, 1911, the arbitrators made a de- 
cision of the utmost importance, which became in practice a 
part of the agreement. This decision provided briefly for the 
following: (1) sanitary and health conditions, including 
proper ventilation, and at least three-quarters of an hour for 
dinner; (2) so far as practicable equal division of work 
among all the workers in slack seasons; (8) the establish- 
ment by the company of some method of handling future 
grievances " through some person or persons in its employ; 




Clarence Darrow 



William O. Thompson 




11 



Representatives of the Union on the Hart, Schaffner and Marx Board of 

Arbitration 



50 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

and Marx, because they are or they are not members of th^ 
United Garment Workers of America. 

"Third: An arbitration committee, consisting of three 
members, shall be appointed. Within three days from the date 
thereof the employees of Hart, Schaffner and Marx shall select 
one member thereof ; within three days thereafter Hart, Schaff- 
ner and Marx shall select one member thereof ; and the two mem- 
bers thus selected shall immediately proceed to select the third 
member of such committee. 

" Fourth: Subject to the provisions of this agreement, said 
arbitration committee shall take up, consider, and adjust what^ 
ever grievances, if any, the employees of Hart, Schaffner and 
Marx who are now on strike shall have and shall fix a method for 
the settlement of grievances, if any, in the future. The finding 
of the said committee or a majority thereof, shall be binding on 
both parties." 

Hart, Schaffner and Marx at the time of the signing of 
this agreement were employing about 6,000 workers, men, 
women and girls, who were represented hy a Joint Board, 
composed of delegates from local unions of the United Gar- 
ment Workers and three delegates from the Women's Trade 
Union League. Under the third clause of the agreement, 
each side selected one arbitrator, the Joint Board of the 
local unions appointing Mr. Clarence Darrow as their arbi- 
trator and the company, Mr. Carl Meyer. These two then 
met to select jointly the third arbitrator. Dean Wigmore 
of Northwestern University Law School was agreed on, but 
was unable to serve, and the two arbitrators could not agree 
on another third member at that time. It was finally decided 
that the two arbitrators should, for the time being, act 
alone as the Board of Arbitration. Working under this 
arrangement, on March 13, 1911, the arbitrators made a de- 
cision of the utmost importance, which became in practice a 
part of the agreement. This decision provided briefly for the 
following: (1) sanitary and health conditions, including 
proper ventilation, and at least three-quarters of an hour for 
dinner; (2) so far as practicable equal division of work 
among all the workers in slack seasons; (3) the establish- 
ment by the company of some method of handling future 
grievances " through some person or persons in its employ; 




Clarence Darrow 



William O. Thompson 




Kepresentatives of the Union on the Hart, Schaffner and Marx Board of 

Arbitration 



i 



b 



hi 



•III 




DEVELOPMENT OF ARBITRATION 51 

and any employee, either by himself or by any individual 
fellow-worker, shall have the right to present any grievance 
at any reasonable time, and such gi'ievance shall be promptly 
considered by the person or persons appointed by said firm, 
and in case such grievance shall not be adjusted, the person 
feeling himself so aggrieved shall have the right to apply to 
some member of said firm for the adjustment of such griev- 
ance, and in case the same shall not then be adjusted, such 
grievance may be presented to Clarence Darrow and Carl 
Meyer, who shall be constituted as a permanent board of 
arbitration to settle any questions that may arise between 
any of the employees of said firm and said firm for the term 
of two years from April 1, 1911, during which time these 
findings shall be in full force "; (4) wage increases and ad- 
justments as follows: a general minimum for all workers of 
$5 a week; a minimum for males over 17 of $6 and over 18 
of $8, and a uniform increase of 10 per cent, to all workers; 
(5) the establishment of the 54-hour week, and the payment 
for overtime work at the rate of time and a half. 

In accordance with the clause of the decision providing for 
the establishment by the company of some means of handling 
future grievances, the Labor Complaint Department was 
immediately established by Hart, Schaff ner and Marx with 
Professor Earl Dean Howard as its chief. The duties of 
the department, as described by Mr. Howard in his testimony 
before the Industrial Relations Commission of 1914 and in 
other statements, were to maintain a system for the prompt 
discovery and investigation of any abuses or complaints that 
might arise among the employees; to recommend measures 
for the elimination of the sources of complaint ; to represent 
the company before the Board of Arbitration (or Trade 
Board later) ; to negotiate with the business agents of the 
unions; to take general charge of emplojonent, discipUne and 
discharge, and of welfare work. The firm believed that the 
main difficulty in the past had been the lack of contact and 
lack of means of presenting grievances with any expectation 
of their being satisfactorily handled. The establishment of 



Ill 



52 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

the Labor Complaint Department was an attempt to meet 

this need. 

Previous to the 1910 strike the industry had been noted 
for the prevalence of small section or shop strikes and so 
habitual had these become that they were taken as a matter 
of course and were thought to be inherent in the industry 
itself. Stoppages were simply necessary evils and there was 
no use in trying to eliminate them. During the first year of 
the agreement little progress was made in the elimination 
of these strikes. Mr. Howard says that for a while they 
were practically as frequent and as bitter as before the strike, 
despite all his eflforts. 

** I used to go about in the shops whenever there was a strike 

and make a speech to them and describe the agreement. Mr. 

Hilhnan used to do so, too, and we really had to instruct the 

people that this meant a new way of adjusting grievances. The 

old way was the only way they knew." 

Until September, 1911, when they first came to be regarded 
as serious offenses, sudden stoppages occurred ahnost every 
week. There was as yet no general understanding of the 
agreement or of the means afforded by the agreement for 
other methods of settUng grievances than striking. 

Friction and misunderstandings continued during this first 
year not through lack of eflfort on the part of the Labor De- 
partment, but because the machinery at its disposal was not 
adequate for its needs. The Labor Complaint Department, 
during the first years of its existence, handled nearly 800 
complaints. No records were kept' of the disposition of these 
cases, but an analysis of the complaints shows the chief 
sources of irritation to have been inequality of piece prices, 
varying quality of work demanded, abuse of foreman's power 
of discharge, lack of a practical and easy method of present- 
ing grievances, recurrence of small strikes resulting in bad 
feeling, and lack of a method for the division of work in slack 
seasons. Problems as serious as these would have taxed even 
the best equipped system at that time, for to neither side 
had the significance and possibilities of the agreement be- 
come as yet clear. But in addition to the complexity of these 



DEVELOPMENT OF ARBITRATION 5S 



complaints, the Department as constituted could not pos- 
sibly handle such a mass of problems speedily and satisfac- 
torily without more time, more experience and a clearer 
definition of its powers and limitations. The failure of the 
Labor Department to handle these matters promptly as they 
arose resulted in the swamping of the arbitrators with a 
multitude of unnecessary detail, which theoretically should 
have been disposed of by the Labor Department. 

The complaints that were thus presented to the Arbitra- 
tion Board were so numerous and so varied that in point of 
time alone it would have been impossible for the Arbitra- 
tion Board to handle them, wliile the confusion that arose 
in presenting cases through the Labor Complaint Depart- 
ment occasioned even more delay. But in addition to the 
delay involved in this procedure these cases required an inti- 
mate and technical knowledge of the industry in all its parts. 
It was obviously impossible to expect a Board of three, or- 
ganized for the arbitration of fairly general principles of 
conduct and relations, to have at its command either the 
time or the technical knowledge that were needed. During 
the first year the arbitrators met more than fifty times. A 
great many oral and only twenty written decisions were 
made. Lack of means to enforce the decisions or to make 
them known to the parties often caused injustice, and the 
failure to make decisions promptly enough produced serious 
friction. It was increasingly evident that the system was not 
practicable as then constituted and that the Board of Arbi- 
tration could not handle promptly and justly both the tech- 
nical questions and the matters of principle that were brought 
before it. 

Many of the difficulties and injustices that arose under this 
system were involved in the process of price-making. Under 
a decision of the arbitrators the company issued complete 
specifications for all operations and a full statement of defi- 
nitions and processes. They established piece prices for 
these operations with the approval of the arbitrators, subject 
to change only by the consent of the arbitrators, as provided 



I 



li '^ 



i' 






lif 



54 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

in the decision. In practice the eflfect of these specifications 
was frequently to lower the earning capacity of the workers. 
In such cases the proper procedure was for the complainant 
to formulate a grievance and to present it to the Labor Com- 
plaint Department for adjustment. If no satisfactory set- 
tlement could be reached (which was usually the case) , the 
complaint went to the arbitrators, who would generally de- 
cide in effect to give an increase in prices so as to maintain 
former earnings. But by the time these decisions came out 
the workers in question would have been working at the old 
rates and the additional problem would have been raised as 
to when the new rates had become effective. In the meantime 
new specifications might be drawn up by the company which 
would practically nullify whatever adjustment the Board of 
Arbitration had made. 

Discontent grew so bitter that the employees and arbitra- 
tors finally informed the company that there was danger of 
serious trouble unless some fundamental readjustments were 
made. As a result a preliminary conference was arranged 
for March, 1912. At this conference the employees were 
represented by Mrs. Raymond Robins of the Women's 
Trade Union League, John Fitzpatrick of the Chicago 
Federation of Labor, W. O. Thompson and Henry M. Ash- 
ton, and the firm was represented by Joseph SchaflPner, Carl 
Meyer, E. D. Howard and Milton A. Strauss. This infor- 
mal conference reached on April 1 an agreement providing 
for the appointment of a committee of five, two representing 
each side and the fifth chosen by the four other members, for 
the following purposes: 

(1) To create a board for the adjusting and fixing of 
prices when necessary, and the adjusting of any other mat- 
ters that might arise in dispute between Hart, Schaff ner and 
Marx and their employees, the neutral member of the board 
to be appointed by the conmiittee. 

(2) To formulate rules for the guidance of this board, 
such rules to be binding during the continuance of the 1911 
agreement, until April 1, 1913. 




Officers and Executive Board Members 
Women's Local 275 




Officers and Executive Board Members Lithuanian 

Coat Makers Local 269 




Officers and Executive Board Members Sewing 
Machine Adjusters Local 272 



54 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

in the decision. In practice the eflfect of these specifications 
was frequently to lower the earning capacity of the workers. 
In such cases the proper procedure was for the complainant 
to formulate a grievance and to present it to the Labor Com- 
plaint Department for adjustment. If no satisfactory set- 
tlement could be reached (which was usually the case), the 
complaint went to the arbitrators, who would generally de- 
cide in effect to give an increase in prices so as to maintain 
former earnings. But by the time these decisions came out 
the workers in question would have been working at the old 
rates and the additional problem would have been raised as 
to when the new rates had become effective. In the meantime 
new specifications might be drawn up by the company which 
would practically nullify whatever adjustment the Board of 
Arbitration had made. 

Discontent grew so bitter that the employees and arbitra- 
tors finally informed the company that there was danger of 
serious trouble unless some fundamental readj ustments were 
made. As a result a preliminary conference was arranged 
for March, 1912. At this conference the employees were 
represented by Mrs. Raymond Robins of the Women's 
Trade Union* League, John Fitzpatrick of the Chicago 
Federation of Labor, W. O. Thompson and Henry M. Ash- 
ton, and the firm was represented by Joseph Schaffner, Carl 
Meyer, E. D. Howard and Milton A. Strauss. This infor- 
mal conference reached on April 1 an agreement providing 
for the appointment of a conunittee of five, two representing 
each side and the fifth chosen by the four other members, for 
the following purposes: 

(1) To create a board for the adjusting and fixing of 
prices when necessary, and the adjusting of any other mat- 
ters that might arise in dispute between Hart, Schaffner and 
Marx and their employees, the neutral member of the board 
to be appointed by the committee. 

(2) To formulate rules for the guidance of this board, 
such rules to be binding during the continuance of the 1911 
agreement, until April 1, 1913. 




Officers and Executive Board Members 
Women's Local 275 



H^^^^^^^^^^^Hp ^^^^^ ^^^Ki^^^Hh^^ fli \. ^^^^^f 


t^nnwg^i 


^ 




■•■'-'^^— "' "iid 


•^pww^'^n-'^^ 


% 



Officers and Executive Board Members Lithuanian 

Coat ^lakers Local 269 




Officers and Executive Board Members Sewing 
Machine Adjusters I^ocal 272 






DEVELOPMENT OF ARBITRATION 55 

The Committee's powers and limitations were defined in 
the following clauses of the agreement: 

" It is expressly agreed upon that the agreement made on 
January 14 and the decision of Clarence Darrow and Carl 
Meyer, the arbitrators appointed under said agreement, which 
decision is dated March 13, 1911, shall remain in all respects 
in full force and effect, and neither said committee nor said 
board so appointed shall have any right to take up any question 
of increasing wages or of providing for any sort of what is 
commonly termed a closed shop, or to make any rules or regu- 
lations in violation of or inconsistent with any of the provisions 
of said agreement of January 14, 1911, or said decision of 
March 18, 1911. 

" Said board when appointed shall be solely for the purpose 
of acting as an original tribunal, and an appeal shall always 
lie to the arbitration board created by the said agreements from 
the decisions of said board." 

The conmiittee of five that was finally appointed was com- 
posed of E. D. Howard and Carl Meyer for the company; 
W. O. Thompson and Sidney Hillman for the employees, 
and Charles H. Winslow as the fifth and neutral member. 
This committee made its report, creating the Trade Board 
and the rules of procedure for its guidance as provided by 
the agreement. Following a preamble which sunmiarized 
briefly the history of the relations between Hart, Schaffner 
and Marx and their employees and the facts that led to the 
appointment of the conunittee for establishing the Trade 
Board, the more important provisions of the report are as 
follows: 

Organization and Membership. 

The Trade Board shall consist of 11 members with practical 
experience in the trade, if possible, five to be chosen by each 
side. All but the Chairman must be employees of Hart, Schaff- 
ner and Marx. Any member of the Board may be removed 
and replaced by the power appointing him. Five alternates 
are to be appointed by each side in case of absences, to avoid 
delays. Weekly meetings of the Board are to be held and spe- 
cial meetings may be called with 24 hours' notice. Both sides 
must have equal voting power in all questions arising before the 
Board. The neutral member of the Board will be appointed 
by the Committee of 5 and will hold office until the expiration 



i \ 



I .'■ 



J i- 



II; 



i 1 



56 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

of the original agreement and will act as Chairman of the 
Board. The duties of the Chairman shall be to preside at all 
meetings, to certify to all decisions and proceedings of the board, 
to maintain order and expedite the business before the board by 
limiting discussion or stopping irrelevant debate, and to con- 
duct the examination of witnesses and to instruct deputies, and, 
upon request, to grant stay of the orders of the board, at his 
discretion, pending appeal. 

Jurisdiction of Board. 
Said Board is to have original jurisdiction of all matters 
arising under the agreement of January 14, 1911, and the deci- 
sion thereunder of Messrs. Darrow and Meyer, of March 13, 

1911. . ^ t u 

Representatives of both sides shall appoint deputies for each 

branch of the trade allowing as much freedom as possible in 
the formation of rules for their guidance. One of the deputies 
shall be called " Chief Deputy," and shall keep the records, be 
responsible for placing matters on the calendar for the Trade 
Board, and in general be responsible for the orderly carrying on 
of affairs of the Trade Board on behalf of his party. Deputies 
are to do whatever work is assigned them by the Trade Board, 
take up grievances and investigate them promptly with depu- 
ties of the other side, and report decisions in writing if they 
come to agreement without the aid of the Board. 

Their decisions wiD be binding unless appeal is made to the 
Trade Board within three days. If they fail to agree, the case 
will go to the Trade Board, which will hear argument on both 

sides, and decide. c^ i ^ 

Deputies must be either employees of Hart, Schaffner and 
Marx or connected with the Joint Board of Garment Workers 
of Hart, Schaffner and Marx. 

Appeal to Arbitration Board. 

In case either party should desire to appeal from any decision 
of the Trade Board, or from any change of these rules by the 
Trade Board to the Board of Arbitration, they shall have the 
right to do so upon filing a notice in writing with the Trade 
Board of such intention within 30 days from the date of the 
decision, and the said Trade Board shall then refer said matter 
to the Board of Arbitration, where the same shall be given an 
early hearing by a full board of three members. 

General rules to expedite the practical work of the Trade 
Board provide methods for speedy attention to all griev- 



DEVELOPMENT OF ARBITRATION 57 

ances; enforcement of decisions of the deputies or the Trade 
Board; immediate investigation of stoppages; appeal to the 
Board of Arbitration in case of refusal to obey decisions; 
submission of new specifications to the Trade Board when 
price changes are contemplated; conforming of price changes 
to changes in work, and the basing of new prices as far as 
possible on old; and notification of employees against whom 
complaints are brought, either at or before the time of enter- 
ing complaint, so that they may notify their deputies. For 
the first time it is clearly recognized that stoppages are con- 
trary to the spirit of the agreement: 

" If such stoppage shall occur because the person in charge 
of the shop shall have refused to allow the people to continue 
work, he shall be ordered to immediately give work to the peo- 
ple, or in case the employees have stopped work, the deputies 
shall order the people to immediately return to work, and in 
case they fail to return to work within an hour from such time 
such people shall be considered as having left the employ of the 
corporation, and shall not be entitled to the benefit of these 
rules." 

Except for a change later made in the numbers of mem- 
bers of the Trade Board from 11 to 5, and other changes of 
detail this is substantially the constitution of the Trade 
Board as it has operated since 1912. The first officers of 
the Trade Board were as follows: 

Chairman — Mr. James MuUenbach. 

Workers' Representatives: Smith, Marimpietri, Kaminsky, 
Spitzer, Hirsch, Feinberg, Goldenstein, Taback. 

Company Representatives ; Larson, Weinberg, Masche, Gut- 
man, Duske, Leis. 

Workers' Deputies : Hillman ( Chief) , representing the coat 
tailors; Levin, the cutters; Miss Abramowitz, the vestmakers; 
Rothbart, the pantmakers. 

Company Deputies: Howard, Chief; Campbell, Assistant. 

Soon after the adoption of this agreement it became clear 
that the original Board of Arbitration could function more 
eflFectively in its new capacity as a Board for the determina- 
tion of general principles if the third arbitrator were chosen. 
Accordingly Mr. J. E. Williams was chosen Chairman of the 



58 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

Board of Arbitration in December, 1912, and held that po- 
sition until his death in 1919. Immediately after his appoint- 
ment as Chairman and as a result largely of his intervention, 
several cases were disposed of by negotiation without de- 
cision of the Board. This method of settling whatever could 
be settled by informal arrangements between the parties or 
by negotiation has always been held by both sides and by 
the Board to be the best possible method of adjusting small 
diflFerences, once the principle involved has been clearly estab- 
lished. The work of the deputies under the Trade Board 
was calculated to fiu-ther this policy, whereby small or de- 
tailed problems can be adjusted before they become serious 
enough to be real grievances. It is a method that can only 
be practiced where there is a permanent organization created 
for that purpose, a clearly established set of fundamental 
principles mutually agreed upon, and a maximum amoimt 
of faith on the part of each party in the integrity and good 
sense of the leaders on the other side. The adjustment of 
grievances through the work of the deputies was, of course, 
subject to review by the Trade Board either on appeal by 
either party or where the deputies failed to agree. Their 
success in settling cases without resort to the Board is shown 
by the following record of adjustments: 

From April 1, 1912, to June, 1914, the deputies adjusted 
1,178 cases, or 84.1 per cent, of the total number; 206 cases, 
or 14.7 per cent, were decided by the Trade Board, and only 
17, or 1.2 per cent, went as far as the Board of Arbitration. 
The disposition of the cases adjusted by the deputies in the 
first instance are not recorded, but the decisions of the Trade 
Board and the Board of Arbitration are completely recorded, 
and will be discussed in other chapters. 

How far the Trade Board succeeded in accomplishing the 
purposes for which it was created is indicated in the statement 
by Mr. Winslow in a bulletin of the Bureau of Labor 
Statistics: 

** In the main, the Trade Board has served its purpose • • • 
to provide a tribunal of practical men working in the industry, 
who should constitute a court of original jurisdiction — ^a court 



DEVELOPMENT OF ARBITRATION 59 

competent to give more prompt and equitable service than 
could be reasonably required of the Board of Arbitration." 

Hillman, in his testimony before the Federal Industrial Re- 
lations Commission, said: 

"This Trade Board was created so that it was really a new 
method of adjusting complaints — and that is an adjustment by 
the workers themselves. It introduces really what I call the 
new principle in organization, that if the workers are to be 
disciplined for any violation of the agreement, they themselves 
partly should be the judges." 

The procedure for bringing in disputes since the creation 
of the Trade Board has been as follows: complaint is filed 
with the Labor Department, the two deputies of the Trade 
Board, one for each side, are informed of the case, they con- 
duct a joint investigation in the shop and try to adjust the 
grievance. If they fail the case is automatically put on the 
Trade Board docket. The Trade Board then hears the case, 
calls witnesses, and either makes a decision or sends the case 
back to the deputies with instructions or recommendations. 
Gradually, as the machinery developed, decisions of the 
Trade Board came to be made more and more often by the 
deciding vote cast by the fifth member, the chairman. Thus 
the institution of the " Impartial Chairman " came into 
existence. The making of piece work rates, which became 
one of the functions of the Trade Board, is handled by a rate 
conunittee of three, one representing each side, and the third 
the Chairman of the Trade Board. In practice, however, the 
actual making of rates is usually done by the two members 
of the committee without the Chairman. In their decisions 
they are guided by the general rules agreed upon or laid 
down by the Board (e. g., changes in prices must correspond 
to changes in work). If the two agree, specifications and 
rates are recorded and put into effect. If they cannot agree, 
the full committee meets and makes a decision. Appeal may 
be taken from this decision to the Board of Arbitration if 
necessary, but no alterations are permitted after a decision 
has been made without the permission of the conunittee, or 
on appeal, permission from the Arbitration Board. 



60 



CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 



Problems or disputes involving general principles not 
already established will go before the Board of Arbitration 
directly, but all others may come before the Trade Board as 
a court of first instance. Some idea of the variety of the 
cases handled by the Trade Board, and their disposition can 
be seen from the following table : 

NUMBER OF DECISIONS OF TRADE BOARD IN FAVOR OF UNION 
AND IN FAVOR OF COMPANY. BY NATURE OF GRIEVANCE, 
MAY 8, 1912, TO JUNE 1, 1914. 



No. of 
Grievance cases filed 

Wrongful discharge 75 

Additional work, or prices too low 42 

Disputes in price making 31 

Reduction of rates of cutters 18 

Discrimination against individuals or sections 15 

Overcrowded sections 14 

Preferring non-union help 7 

Other grievances 21 

Total 223 



Decisions 


Decisions 


in favor 


in favor 


of union 


of Company 


24 


34 


12 


5 


4 


3 


6 


5 


5 


4 


2 


• • 


3 


1 


5 


2 



61 



S4 



One of the most important contributions of this permanent 
adjustment machinery is the development of a working code 
of industrial law. The agreement itself is the constitution or 
fundamental law, while the decisions and precedents they 
establish are analogous to the common law. Thus these de- 
cisions and understandings have in time developed into a 
code of rules and procedure that all who work under the 
system must understand and be able to apply. The deputies 
and representatives of both sides must be thoroughly familiar 
with the law established, in order that they may adjust as 
many disputes as possible " out of court " fairly and equit- 
ably, and in the spirit of the agreement. E. D. Howard, in 
his testimony before the Industrial Relations Commission, 
described his own experience with this development : 

" This ( organic growth of law) grows up through precedent 
established by various bodies and by people who have an op- 
portunity to lay down policies. These precedents become law. 
At first, when you have a condition of no government, or des- 
potism, and you are trying to change over to a republican fom 



DEVELOPMENT OF ARBITRATION 



61 



of government, which this is, you must have all these things 
worked out, you must have the constitution worked out, and 
you must have the fundamental law laid down, and you must 
have interpretations of it, and legislation * * * At first 
everything came up with us, all sorts of questions. Mr. Hill- 
man and I would try to settle them ourselves. Of course, we 
could not, in a good many cases, and we by mutual agreement 
would say, * Let us have this thing settled ; let us have this 
precedent established ; let us have laws and legislation ' and we 
would refer it to a board of arbitration, and the board of ar- 
bitration gradually guided us, and has gradually enacted what 
expresses to a large number the ideas of the principles of justice 
in this industry, and since we have had this we have been able 
to settle practically all grievances." 

Professor Tufts attributes the steady and consistent 
growth of these principles and precedents in part to the 
character and permanence of the personnel of the boards, 
which have made possible the development of a coherent and 
unified poUcy. Mr. Williams was Chairman of the Board of 
Arbitration for seven vears, and Mr. MuUenbach of the 
Trade Board since 1912. Another factor was the practice 
of having the parties inunediately concerned represented in 
cases by their deputies or labor managers, who are naturally 
more expert in presenting their cases and better acquainted 
with the detailed administration of the agreement. All this 
development of principles as the Trade Board became an 
established institution was of course not a matter of one or 
two years, but a long and slow matter of experiment and 
education that is still in the process of development. In the 
meantime, however, other important changes were taking 
place in the collective agreement and in the organization of 
the workers themselves. 

The original agreement expired April 1, 1913, and as that 
date approached the situation was seen to be serious. Two 
months before the date of expiration the workers presented 
the following demands as a condition of the renewal of the 
agreement: 

1) All workers must be members in good standing of the 
United Garment Workers and new employees must join the 
union within two weeks after employment. 



62 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

2) The fifty-hour week for tailors and the forty-eight-hour 
week for cutters and trimmers. 

8) Tailors: overtime must be paid for at the rate of time 
and a half ; no overtime on Saturdays, Sundays or holidays ; $16 
minimum weekly wage; increases to be arbitrated; price com- 
mittee to be created to determine prices and changes according 
to certain rulings. 

4) Continuation of present Board of Arbitration during life 
of agreement. 

5) $9 a week minimum for all workers. 

6) No worker may be discharged without sufficient cause. 

7) Overcrowding is considered a grievance. 

8) All privileges of old agreement not covered here to con- 
tinue as before. 

9) For other departments, various wage and rate adjust- 
ments. 

By an overwhelming majority the workers declared that if 
their demand for the union shop were not granted, they would 
strike. The Company objected on the ground that the em- 
ployes were not sufficiently experienced to hold such power. 
This was, of course, the most important demand of the work- 
ers and both sides seemed determined not to yield. No agree- 
ment appeared possible and the workers prepared to strike 
on April 1st. It was a serious crisis, all negotiations ceased, 
and the arbitrators left the city. The Chairman of the Board, 
Mr. Williams, arranged with the Company for an extension 
of the period of the old agreement to May 13, 1913, to give 
time for more negotiations and thus possibly avert a break; 
but the workers refused to accept the extension. Finally, 
one week before the date of expiration. Chairman Williams 
and the Chief Deputies (Hillman and Howard) presented 
to both sides a tentative agreement providing for a prefer- 
ential imion shop, leaving practically all other issues in the 
hands of the Board of Arbitration, and providing for the 
continuation of the old agreement until another agreement 
could be reached. 

On March 28th the Chairman issued the following state- 
ment of his interpretation of the agreement, in order that 
both sides might imderstand clearly what was involved: 



DEVELOPMENT OF ARBITRATION 



M 



*' In facing the possibility of unsettled questions being sub- 
mitted to arbitration, I find my present state of mind to be this : 

** That, in addition to maintaining what has been gained in 
the present agreement, the chief interest of the employees cen- 
ters around the question of an increased efficiency of organiza- 
tion, which requires a recognition of the need for such a sub- 
stantial degree of preference as will tend to improve that effi- 
ciency, while the chief interest of the employers centers around 
the question of efficiency in business competition, which neces- 
sarily includes a recognition and consideration of cost and 
quality of production, with the shop cooperation and discipline 
necessary to secure it. 

" I find my mind still open and ready to receive and be in- 
fluenced by any Hght that may be offered by either side, and 
this statement is given to show, so far as I understand myself, 
what my present attitude is on the questions which most need 
to be considered and reconciled." 

On March 29, 1913, the agreement was adopted and signed 
by representatives of the firm, of the Joint Board of the 
Hart, Schaffner and Marx local unions, the Central Federa- 
tion of Labor and the Women's Trade Union League. The 
signing of this agreement was unquestionably one of the most 
important gains won so far by the organized clothing work- 
ers of Chicago. 

Under the terms of this agreement, known as the Prefer- 
ential Shop Agreement, all matters in dispute, except the 
question of preference, were left to the Board of Arbitration. 
The rest of the 1913 agreement was really issued therefore in 
the form of a Ruling of the Board of Arbitration, effective 
from May 1, 1913, to May 1, 1916. The Ruling incorpo- 
rated the agreement for preference of March 29th; provided 
an opportunity for renewal of the agreement before the time 
of expiration in 1916; provided for the continuation of the 
Trade and Arbitration Boards; enlarged the powers of the 
latter by the so-called emergency clause; reduced hours of 
work in the tailor shops from 54 to 52; retained the minimum 
wage scale with certain exceptions; provided for pay at the 
rate of time and a half for overtime work and no overtime 
on Sundays or legal holidays; left the power of discharge 
and discipline with the company, subject to review; ordered 



64 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 



the maintenance as far as possible of a balance of work- 
men in the sections in order to keep different departments 
at work, complaints in regard to this being subject to 
review by the Trade Board ; provided for the replacement of 
workers displaced by abolished sections in work as nearly as 
possible like their old work; and retained in full force those 
parts of the old agreement not in conflict with this, or 

obsolete. 

The first decision prescribing the manner of applying the 
principle of preference was made on August 30, 1913. This 
application of the principle of preference is an excellent 
example of the building up of a code or body of practical 
law by the decisions of the Boards which interpret and apply 
general principles. The gist of the decision was as follows: 

'* The test of preference is that it must strengthen the organi- 
zation, while at the same time it must extend a * reasonable pref- 
erence ' to old employes, and maintain the efficiency of shop 
discipline * * ♦ . The Board • * ♦ offers the following 
experimental interpretation: The application of the principle 
of preference made herein is based on the degree of unionization 
at present existing in the shops and is designed to prevent 
union membership from falling below its present status, and by 
its continued operation to strengthen the organization as con- 
templated by the agreement." 

The decision then proceeds to establish classes for degrees 
of unionization, rules for preference in each class and for 
promotion of sections from one class to another, for slack 
season reduction in working force, and for preference in hir- 
ing. Special rules were made later for the cutters and trim- 
mers to the effect that workers in cutting and trimming rooms 
shall be union members in good standing, except that the 
company may employ 20 non-union cutters and 9 non-union 
trimmers, this being less than 5 per cent, of the number em- 
ployed in each case. In conclusion, Mr. Williams noted cer- 
tain general rules in regard to the punishment of wilful stop- 
pages or any other violation of the spirit and intention of the 
agreement. This decision became the guide for future appli- 
cations of the preferential clause of the agreement. The 
strides forward that the union had made since 1911 and the 



DEVELOPMENT OF ARBITRATION 65 



acceptance of the position that the organization should con- 
tinue to gain and not lose strength, are clearly recognized in 
the above decision. The preferential shop did in practice soon 
come to mean the union shop, for with the increasing degree 
of unionization, the union saw to it that its members were 
available for preference when jobs were open. The degree of 
unionization under this agreement was naturally of the ut- 
most importance, for it determined the class of the sections 
for purposes of preference, and in March, 1914, the Labor 
Department directed the foremen to take a census of unioni- 
zation. Three months later, the union took a census of its 
members through the shop chairmen. The union figures, com- 
piled in May, show a considerably larger proportion of union 
men than were shown by the March census. The percentage 
of union members in the pants shop (the lowest percentage 
of all the shops) , according to March figures, was 51, and in 
May, 77.6. In the vest makers' section, the percentage of 
union members was 89 according to the March figures and 
96 in May, and in the coat makers 82 and 91.6 respectively. 
The degree of unionization of cutters and trimmers was 95% 
at both dates. The total membership of the imion calculated 
from the dues collected in the four months from January to 
May, shows an increase of from 2,592 in May, 1913, to 8,906 
ill May, 1914, or 344 per cent. 

After January, 1914, new groups of workers (including 
ticket sewers, inspector tailors, and apprentices) who were 
not unionized at the time of signing the agreement in March, 
1913, were brought under the agreement, due to their subse- 
quent organization by the union. 

Another provision in the 1913 agreement that was of great 
importance in the development of the strength of the union 
was the clause limiting the power of discharge by requiring 
that a sufiicient reason be shown for discharge and by provid- 
ing for appeal in the case of those believing themselves un- 
justly discharged. 

The development of the position and function of the shop 
chairman, as a recognized officer of the Union, came largely 
during the life of this agreement. In the original agreement 



66 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

there was no mention of a shop chairman. In fact, it was 
specifically provided that " any employe — may present a 
grievance in person or by an individual fellow worker." The 
progress and status of the Union were later recognized in a 
ruling to the effect that the Joint Board might designate 
any fellow employe of the company to represent them before 
the Arbitration Board. The institution was thus officially 
recognized and one " representative " was selected by the 
cutters, one each by coat, vest and pants tailors, and one 
each by the Polish and Lithuanian workers. Later, the 
Board interpreted " fellow worker " to be the official repre- 
sentative of the Union, the shop chairman, and still later the 
rights and powers of the shop chairman were defined in the 
Trade Board decisions of January 8, 1918, and September 
5,1914: 

January 8, 1913. 

^' Inasmuch as the agreement is silent on the matter at issue 
a decision must rest on the most reasonable interpretation of 
the intention of the agreement and of the circumstances of shop 
operation. 

^* It is clearly intended and declared by the agreement that 
an employee may elect to present a grievance by a feUow worker 
rather than by himself. It will not be denied that an employe 
may bring a complaint to the representative of the firm during 
working hours. But under the agreement he may choose to 
make such complaint by a fellow worker rather than by him- 
self. In this case the agreement confers upon the fellow worker 
all of the rights of making and adjusting the complaint that it 
lodged in the employe. The employe is entitled to place his 
representative — the individual fellow-worker — in full possession 
of the facts of his complaint." 

September 5, 1914. 

'^ In the present case the question centers on whether, when 
an employe presents a complaint to an individual fellow worker 
(shop chairman) the individual fellow worker has the right to 
go to the place of work of the complainant and investigate the 
complaint. 

" On this point the board rules that the individual worker 
(shop chairman) has the right to go to the place of work of the 
employe, where it is necessary for him to get full possession 



' 



i/ 







X 



5 a> 

2 5 

-c -g 






c 



o 






05 



66 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 



there was no mention of a shop chairman. In fact, it was 
specifically provided that ** any employe — may present a 
grievance in person or by an individual fellow worker." The 
progress and status of the Union were later recognized in a 
ruUng to the effect that the Joint Board might designate 
any fellow employe of the company to represent them before 
the Arbitration Board. The institution was thus officially 
recognized and one " representative " was selected by the 
cutters, one each by coat, vest and pants tailors, and one 
each by the Polish and Lithuanian workers. Later, the 
Board interpreted " fellow worker " to be the official repre- 
sentative of the Union, the shop chairman, and still later the 
rights and powers of the shop chairman were defined in the 
Trade Board decisions of January 8, 1913, and September 
5, 1914: 

Januaky 8, 1913. 

*' Inasmuch as the agreement is silent on tlie matter at issue 
a decision must rest on the most reasonable interpretation of 
the intention of the agreement and of the circumstances of shop 
operation. 

" It is clearly intended and declared by the agreement that 
an employee may elect to present a grievance by a fellow worker 
rather than by himself. It will not be denied that an employe 
may bring a complaint to the representative of the firm during 
working hours. But under the agreement he may choose to 
make such complaint by a fellow worker rather than by him- 
self. In this case the agreement confers upon the fellow worker 
all of the rights of making and adjusting the complaint that it 
lodged in the employe. The employe is entitled to place his 
representative — the individual fellow-worker — in full possession 
of the facts of his complaint." 

September 5, 1914. 

" In the present case the question centers on whether, when 
an employe presents a complaint to an individual fellow worker 
(shop chairman) the individual fellow worker has the right to 
go to the place of work of the complainant and investigate the 
complaint. 

" On this point the board rules that the individual worker 
(shop chairman) has the right to go to the place of work of the 
employe, where it is necessary for him to get full possession 




X 






^ -y. 



•r. 

-1^ 



r. 



?£ 





DEVELOPMENT OF ARBITRATION 67 

of the facts of the complaint. He may then take it up with 
the foreman, but the foreman is not required to discuss the com- 
plaint with him and may refer him to the other channels for ad- 
justing complaints. 

♦ •♦♦♦♦ 

" The shop chairman thus became the representative of the 
workers on the premises of the firm. Individual workers file 
their grievances with the chairman, who takes the matter up 
with the shop representative of the firm. If the chairman of 
the shop does not succeed in adjusting the matter, the griev- 
ances are brought (by the shop chairman) to the attention of 
the respective deputy. The deputy then takes the matter up 
with representative of the labor complaint department of the 

In February, 1914, representatives of 5,000 workers of the 
firm met to celebrate the success of their relationship after 
three years of peace. A most enthusiastic reception was 
given to Sidney Hillman, Chief Deputy for the workers. By 
this time, the agreement was recognized as a great achieve- 
ment not only by those directly concerned with its operation 
but by the public and the press as well. 

" No occasion in all Chicago's industrial history," said the 
Chicago Daily News, "has more clearly demonstrated how much 
more practical and profitable peace is than war, and how much 
more essential to peace and prosperity is the democracy of 
good will than any kind of oligarchy in industry ♦ ♦ * This 
is history in the making here in Chicago." 

In the fall of 1914 came the break from the United Gar- 
ment Workers and the appearance of the new organization 
which later became the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of 
America. Neither this great change in the organization of 
the workers, nor the subsequent general strikes of 1915-16 
that tied up other clothing houses, affected the agreement of 
Hart, Schaffner and Marx with its organized employees. 
Recognizing the facts as they were, the firm continued the 
agreement with locals of the Amalgamated Clothing Work- 
ers that it had begun with the United Garment Workers, and 
during the general strike in the fall of 1915, the agreement 
continued in effect, so that no stoppages occurred among the 
workers of Hart, Schaffner and Marx. 



68 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

On May Day of 1915, A. D. Marimpietri, head of the 
Joint Board of Hart, Schaffner and Marx workers issued a 
call to all clothing workers to celebrate May Day as the 
International Labor Day. It was the first attempt to do this 
and the response was beyond all expectations. Over 10,000 
workers paraded through the clothing district, halting out- 
side of the unorganized shops. The effect of the whole 
demonstration on the unorganized workers was tremendous. 
This May Day parade, aided by wide publicity in the daily 
press, did much toward laying the foundations for the gen- 
eral strike in the fall of 1915. 

The next significant event in the history of the collective 
agreement with Hart, Schaffner and Marx came when the 
agreement of 1913 was to expire in 1916. The great figure 
of the year was Mr. J. E. Williams, Chairman of the Board 
of Arbitration, to whose efforts the renewal of the agree- 
ment is credited. Mr. Wilhams himself called the signing 
of the agreement his " crowning experience " as a labor 
adjuster. In discussing the character of the union in con- 
nection with the renewal of this agreement, Mr. Wilhams 
wrote: 

" There were those among the disbelievers in collective bar- 
gaining who foresaw the rupture of the Hart, Schaffner and 
Marx agreement in this settlement. There were those who be- 
lieved that the union, after its five years of solidarity, would 
use its power to throttle the company ♦ • • All these ex- 
pectations were negatived by the result. Five years of power, 
instead of making the union arrogant, has only given it a sense 
of restraint and responsibihty. It has proved that, guided bj 
honest and intelligent leaders, the workers may be trusted with 
power, that industrial democracy is not a dream, but a poten- 
tial reality." 

Not that there were no serious problems at the moment 
to complicate the situation; serious questions of wage in- 
creases and reductions in hours presented in fact great 
difiSculty, but the habit of collective bargaining that had been 
developed in the course of the previous five years of agree- 
ment, together with what Mr. Williams called " The Will to 
Agree," prevailed over the difficulties. 



DEVELOPMENT OF ARBITRATION 69 



The agreement itself was the result of negotiations and 
conferences over demands of the union, which included, 
among other things, an increase in wages, the 48-hour week, 
the continuation of the Trade Board and Board of Arbi- 
tration as now constituted, and the preferential shop. Two 
weeks before the date for the expiration of the old agree- 
ment, the new agreement was signed for another period of 
three years, from May 1, 1916, to April 30, 1919. On the 
matter of hours a compromise was reached with the estab- 
lishment of the 49-hour week. At the date of signing of 
the agreement, a 10 per cent, increase was granted, which 
the union, instead of applying horizontally, distributed in 
such a way as to give the lowest paid workers the greatest 
benefit. This action was cited by Mr. Williams as a proof 
that the union was highly developed, capable of self-control, 
and eminently fit to hold power. 

The important provisions of the agreement of 1916 are 
substantially the following: 

1. The old agreement and decisions based thereon, are to 
remain in force unless modified by or conflicting with this agree- 
ment. 

2. The Board of Arbitration is to have full and final juris- 
diction over all matters under this agreement, and decisions of 
the Board are to be conclusive. Members of the Board are to 
be: Mr. Thompson, Mr. Meyer, and Mr. Williams. 

8. The emergency clause of the 1918 agreement is renewed. 

4. The Trade Board is to continue as before, as the primary 
board for adjusting grievances. The following important addi- 
tion was made to the rules for Deputies : 

" The Union deputy shall have access to any shop or factory 
for the purpose of making investigations of complaints ; but he 
shall in all cases be accompanied by the representative of the 
employer. Provided that the latter may, at his option, waive 
his right to accompany him, also that in minor matters where 
convenience or expedition may be served, the union deputy may 
call out the shop chairman to obtain information without such 
waiver." 

6. Shop representatives (or shop chairmen) are specifically 
mentioned in the agreement and their duties and powers defined. 
The shop chairman is recognized as the duly accredited repre- 
sentative of the Joint Board, having charge of complaints and 



70 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

organization matters in the shop. He is to receive complaints 
and have opportunity to investigate them, he may collect dues, 
etc., as long as it does not interfere with shop discipline or 
efficiency ; and he must do all in his power to promote good wili 
and cooperation. 

6. Detailed procedure is outlined for the handling, imvesti- 
gation, and presentation of grievances, appeals, and for the 
enforcement of decisions. 

7. Piece rate committees take up changes in all cases where 
changes are contemplated. 

8. The preferential shop clause is to remain effective, as 
before. 

9. The limitations on discharge of workers as provided in 
1918 agreement remain in effect. 

10. Stoppages are considered serious violations of the spirit 
of the agreement. 

11. Workers are not to be detained in shops when there is 
not enough work. 

12. Employes are to be notified of complaints against them 
so that they can notify a deputy. 

18. Lay off of union workers is only permitted in case of 
alternation in slack times, reorganization, or reduction in sec- 
tions, lawful discipline, etc. 

14. During slack season work is to be divided equally, as 
far as possible, among all the workers. 

15. Absence without cause or notification is equivalent to 
quitting. 

16. Workers displaced by abolishment of sections are to bo 
replaced in work as much like the old work as possible. 

17. Workers absent because of sickness will up to a reason- 
able length of time be reinstated. 

18. The provisions for preference require that the union 
keep its door open to the admission of non-union workers. 
Dues and initiation fees must not be prohibitive. 

19. All provisions of the old agreement, except where su- 
perseded or conflicting with these, are to remain in effect. 

From 1916 to 1919, a period of world war and unsettled 
economic conditions, the agreement and those who worked 
with it were confronted with new and unexpected problems. 
Fortunately the law of the industry proved itself elastic 
enough to meet such rapidly changing conditions. In Jan- 
uary, 1917, 2 per cent, was added to the wages of piece 
workers, in addition to the 10 per cent, granted at the time 




DEVELOPMENT OF ARBITRATION 71 



of signing the agreement. On May 1, 1917, 10 per cent, 
increases were granted by decision of the Board and this 
time applied horizontally. The following year, on April 
22, 1918, the firm granted " voluntary " increases, the result 
of negotiations between the union and the firm, effective as 
of May 2, 1918, and amounting to 10 per cent and 15 per 
cent. Like other gains of the Hart, Schaffner and Marx 
workers, these increases were of great help in stimulating 
the campaign to organize the rest of the Chicago market, 
which still remained non-union. 

On January 2, 1919, after seven years of distinguished 
and invaluable service, Mr. J. E. Williams, Chairman of 
the Board of Arbitration, died. James H. Tufts, Professor 
of Philosophy in the University, of Chicago, was appointed 
to succeed him. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE BREAK FROM THE UNITED GARMENT 

WORKERS IN 1914 

The conduct and termination of the 1910 strike resulted 
in resentment and suspicious hostility of the clothing work- 
ers toward their leaders in the United Garment Workers of 
America. In order to realize the intensity of their feeling, 
and the accumulated sense of injustice that culminated in 
the fall of 1914, it is necessary to go further back and ex- 
amine briefly the history, the methods, and the various activi- 
ties of the clothing workers' organizations prior to the break 
in the ranks of the United Garment Workers in 1914. 

It is from the first a history of exploitation and of chaos. 
It is clear from the nature of the industry itself and the 
course of its development, that organization of the clothing 
workers presented a highly complicated problem. The very 
conditions that made organization a pressing necessity 
tended also to retard its progress as we have seen in the 
sweatshop years before the 1910 strike. The inmiigrant 
workers; the highly seasonal nature of the industry; the 
prevalence of home work, with all the special problems of 
organization involved in that system; the constant division 
and sub-division of operations, setting the skilled workers 
at a comparative disadvantage; all these helped to make 
the clothing industry one of the most difficult of American 
industries to organize. 

From the beginning many sporadic and ineffective at- 
tempts to organize the clothing workers were made by such 
unions as the Journeymen Tailors, originally formed as a 
benevolent organization only. For the most part these at- 
tempts were either too feeble to be effective, or disrupted by 
jealousies and dissensions, or undermined by corruption from 
vvithin. Of these early organizations the Journeymen Tail- 
ors were the most powerful, especially in New York City, 



THE BREAK IN 1914 



73 



where they were supported by the Central Labor Union in 
the first general strike in 1833. The first national organ- 
ization of tailors, however, did not come until after the 
foundation of the Knights of Labor in 1866. It began, as 
most unions of that period did, in rebellion against an older 
union no longer effective. In 1873 the various locals under 
the Knights of Labor joined to form a national organiza- 
tion. One of the worst difficulties under which they labored 
was the necessity for secrecy, due to the blacklisting and 
lockouts in the reaction that followed the Civil War. Partly 
for this reason and partly through inherent weaknesses in 
the organization, the Knights of Labor were never very 
successful in organizing the clothing workers. 

The decade of 1880-1890 was filled with uprisings, new 
organizations, counter-movements and revolts. Finally in 
1891 the United Garment Workers was organized, sup- 
ported at the beginning, by the United Hebrew Trades. 
The union was organized under the leadership of dissatisfied 
officers of the Knights of Labor and took immediate steps 
to entrench and safeguard itself by obtaining a charter from 
the American Federation of Labor. This step was strongly 
opposed by the United Hebrew Trades, which just a little 
while before had urged the organization of the United Gar- 
ment Workers, and it passed a resolution in 1892 criticising 
their action in afiiliating with the American Federation of 
Labor. In 1898 the new union engineered a strike that de- 
veloped into a fight with the Knights of Labor, from which 
the United Garment Workers emerged victorious. 

This strike was followed by a period of severe depression 
and unemplojrment, lasting until the beginning of the new 
era of inside shops. It was largely in these years, from 
1883 to 1894, that the sweat-shop came to be the character- 
istic feature of the clothing industry, and became closely 
associated in the minds of the workers with the contract 
system that prevailed during that period. Beginning with 
1894, however, the great inside factories began to spring up. 
Their effect was greatly to facilitate the work of organiza- 
tion, partly because of the greater accessibility of workers 



74 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 



through the grouping by sections, and partly because of the 
relative decrease in the number of home workers. 

The United Garment Workers reaped the benefits of 
these great changes, and soon foimd itself the most power- 
ful of the then existing clothing workers' organizations. The 
union comprised three main branches of the garment industry 
— overalls, shirts, and "men's and boys' clothing." Early 
in their history the United Garment Workers were fairly 
successful in organizing the pants-makers, children's jacket 
makers, and especially the overall makers. With the 
Brotherhood of Tailors of New York, however, which had 
affiliated with the United Garment Workers, but had to a 
certain degree retained its independence, the new organiza- 
tion got on badly from the beginning. This hostility con- 
tinued and grew throughout the history of the United Gar- 
ment Workers. 

Viewed in the light of all the events up to 1914, and ac- 
cording to their own subsequent statements, the hostility 
and distrust of the tailors were founded principally on the 
following grievances: (1) The failure of the United Gar- 
ment Workers to organize the tailors, or to support them 
in their attempts to organize or increase their membership; 
(2) refusal to take notice of the growing demand on the 
part of the clothing workers for industrial union- 
ism rather than craft unionism; (8) autocratic and 
unrepresentative administration of the imion's busi- 
ness, both constitutionally and unconstitutionally; (4) 
corrupt practices existing among the officers of the 
United Garment Workers, and the misuse of union 
funds, particularly in connection with the abuse of the union 
label. How far these complaints were justified, the events 
themselves show best. 

Serious dissatisfaction with the union's policy in regard 
to the organization of the tailors was manifested in 1904 at 
the close of an unsuccessful strike in New York City. It 
was only one of many cases in which the clothing workers 
were to find themselves not only unsupported at a crucial 



THE BREAK IN 1914 



75 



moment by their own leaders, but forced to accept unsatis- 
factory terms of settlement. 

In the meantime there were many proofs of neglect in 
regular " peace-time " organization work as well, in the dis- 
tress signals sent out by various locals seeking support for 
their failing membership. At the convention of 1906, for 
example, a Chicago tailors' local reported that its member- 
ship had fallen from 450 to 80, and they asked the national 
office to help them regain their membership. Another local 
reported " a state of loss of confidence, and in some cases 
discouraged to a great extent." Another Chicago local re- 
ported a drop in membership from 500 to 82, and said that 
the only way to organize was " to show outsiders the direct 
benefit, moral and financial, it is for them to be organized 
— we have nothing to oflfer." A St. Louis local appealed 
for help, reporting that they were " almost out of existence." 
Various other locals described similar conditions, but almost 
without exception their requests were ignored. 

The distrust that had been awakened in the minds of the 
workers was further stimulated by the action of the leaders 
in the Tailors' first general strike of 1907 in New York. 
After the New York Tailors had struck for the right to 
organize and for the 58-hour week, there was a split within 
the ranks and the United Garment Workers' officials 
charged those who persisted in opposing them with in- 
surgency, and expelled them from membership, although 
fifty thousand members had voted in favor of the so-called 
" insurgents." The split was apparently healed, but the 
strike was lost. But perhaps the most important single 
event that proved to the workers, not only that the national 
office was not primarily interested in organizing the clothing 
workers, but that it was actually in many cases opposed, 
was the Chicago strike of 1910, and its settlement. Presi- 
dent Rickert in his report on the 1910 strike to the next 
convention shows clearly that the officers were opposed to 
the purposes of the strikers. In discussing the rejection 
of the first agreement which he had drawn up, and which 
provided that " no question of union or open shop or shop 



76 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

organization should be submitted to, or passed upon by the 
collective machinery established/' Rickert says: "in this 
they were aided by the English, Foreign and Socialist press 
as well as by other organizations, notwithstanding the 
fact that these same officials had, prior to the submission of 
this proposition, acknowledged many times that any agree- 
ment would be a good settlement." 

Finally in 1911 the Tailor locals of New York and Balti- 
more called a conference at Philadelphia on the subject of 
the organization of the tailors, in which they voiced their com- 
plaints against the United Garment Workers : 

** The National organization of the United Garment Workers 
is in existence for the last few years, and we tailors have organ- 
ized that body. We helped the organization in its moments 
of need, consequently we worked very hard and paid every 
cent to set the organization on a solid material basis. At last 
we enjoy very little of the benefits of this organization. 

" Who will deny the fact that the national organization is 
presently being controUed by representatives of the Overall 
Makers, who do not want and cannot understand the interests 
of the tailor in America? 

" Who will deny the fact that the officers of the United Gar- 
ment Workers of America are not able to deal with more than 
the Union label, and probably not even this? • • • The 
Tailor Unions are now like a * step-child ' to the national 
organization." 

The result of this conference was the formation of the 
Tailors' Council which, after bitter opposition, the United 
Garment Workers was forced to recognize. 

A vigorous organization campaign by the tailor locals of 
New York City in 1911-1912 was then undertaken with 
astounding results. This new activity marked the taking of 
the lead by the tailors themselves toward improving their 
conditions and organizing the industry. Finally, when a 
general strike was called December 30, 1912, for the 48-hour 
week and wage increases, all of the workers in the industry 
responded. The organization campaign carried on by the 
local unions of the Brotherhood of Tailors in New York 
had been so successful that the general officers of the United 




Officers and Executive Board Members Bohemian 

Coat Makers Local 6 




Officers and Executive Board Members Polish Coat 

Makers Local 38 




Officers and Executive Board Members Italian Coat 

Makers Local 270 



76 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

organization should be submitted to, or passed upon by the 
collective machinery established," Rickert says: " in this 
they were aided by the English, Foreign and Socialist press 
as well as by other organizations, notwithstanding the 
fact that these same officials had, prior to the submission of 
this proposition, acknowledged many times that any agree- 
ment would be a good settlement." 

Finally in 1911 the Tailor locals of New York and Balti- 
more called a conference at Philadelphia on the subject of 
the organization of the tailors, in which they voiced their com- 
plaints against the United Garment Workers : 

" The National organization of the United Garment Workers 
is in existence for the last few years, and we tailors have organ- 
ized that body. We helped the organization in its moments 
of need, consequently we worked very hard and paid every 
cent to set the organization on a solid material basis. At last 
we enjoy very little of the benefits of this organization. 

" Who will deny the fact that the national organization is 
presently being controlled by representatives of the Overall 
Makers, who do not want and cannot understand the interests 
of the tailor in America? 

" Who will deny the fact that the officers of the United Gar- 
ment Workers of America are not able to deal with more than 
the Union label, and probably not even this? • • • The 
Tailor Unions are now like a * step-child ' to the national 
organization." 

The result of this conference was the formation of the 
Tailors' Coimcil which, after bitter opposition, the United 
Garment Workers was forced to recognize. 

A vigorous organization campaign by the tailor locals of 
New York City in 1911-1912 was then undertaken with 
astounding results. This new activity marked the taking of 
the lead by the tailors themselves toward improving their 
conditions and organizing the industry. Finally, when a 
general strike was called December 30, 1912, for the 48-hour 
week and wage increases, all of the workers in the industry 
responded. The organization campaign carried on by the 
local unions of the Brotherhood of Tailors in New York 
had been so successful that the general officers of the United 




Officers and Executive Board Members Bohemiiin 

Coat Makers Local (5 




Officers and Executive Board Members Polish Coat 

Makers Local 38 




Officers and Executive Board Members Italian Coat 

Makers Local 270 







THE BREAK IN 1914 



77 



Garment Workers, unlike on the occasion of previous strikes, 
gave their sanction to the organized fight of the tailors for 
better conditions. 

From the first the officers of the United Garment Workers 
attempted to control the strike and to arrange " settlements " 
with the manufacturers. In January they submitted an 
agreement which was rejected because it did not reduce 
hours and offered only 5 per cent, increase in wages. The 
workers refused to vote on a second agreement negotiated 
by the national officers for a 52-hour week and an increase 
of $1.00 per week. Even when the employers agreed to re- 
duce the hours to 50 as of January, 1914, the workers re- 
fused to consider it. Finally, on February 28, 1918, the 
general executive board of the United Garment Workers 
accepted without reference to the strikers another " settle- 
ment " with the manufacturers' association. This settlement 
provided for an increase of $1.00 per week, the abolition of 
sub-contracting and the creation of a commission to fix hours. 

When these terms were made public, the Brotherhood of 
Tailors rejected the agreement on the ground that it was 
entered into without the consent of the strikers. The workers 
were so incensed by the treachery of their officers and the 
support given the unpopular settlement by the Jewish Daily 
Forward when the strike had been virtually won that they 
smashed the windows of the Forward offices in protest. 

The Brotherhood of Tailors immediately called a confer- 
ence of Jewish unions and other progressive organizations 
and formed a special committee to carry on the strike. The 
sum of $50,000 was raised. The Forward then foUowed the 
popular movement, realized its original error and urged the 
strikers on. General President Rickert and the other officers 
of the U. G. W. on the other hand wrote to the Mayor of 
the city urging him to stop further picketing by the strikers. 

The strike was finally terminated on March 13th when a 
new settlement negotiated by the newly created strike com- 
mittee was ratified by a referendum vote of the strikers. 
While the workers did not receive in full their demands, thev 
secured important concessions in the improvement of work- 



78 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

ing conditions. More than that they had laid the foundation 
for a permanent organization of all the workers in the cloth- 
ing industry in New York City. Effective organization in 
New York dates from the 1913 strike. The action of the gen- 
eral officers of the U. G. W. in their attempts to force the 
workers to settle and their move to stop picketing after the 
refusal of the strikers to accept the settlement of February 
28th represented only an attempt to do in New York in 1913 
the thing which they had tried unsuccessfully in Chicago in 
1910. The breach between officialdom and rank and file had 
been widened. To the officers of the U. G. W. the growth 
of the New York Tailor locals had become a serious menace 
to their continuance in power. 

The opposition of the United Garment Workers to in- 
dustrial unionism and their failure even to understand the 
demand was in part another phase of their antagonism to 
the tailors. For the demand rose not among the conservative 
shirt and over-all workers but among the progressive and 
dissatisfied groups of the clothing workers. 

The very constitution of the old United Garment Workers 
was based on the principle of local autonomy. District 
councils were merely loose federations of locals in one city 
and were in practice almost powerless. Any local in the 
city might, for example, vote for a strike without reference 
to or consultation with the district council or other local 
unions in the same city, regardless of their interdependence. 
The matter would then go directly to the general officers 
for their approval or disapproval. Resolutions attempting 
to remedy this situation by giving the district councils more 
power were always defeated by the General Executive 
Board. But the fact that such resolutions were brought in 
increasing numbers as the years went on is proof of the 
dissatisfaction of the members with the existing system. As 
early as 1906 a resolution was submitted providing for the 
sanction and recognition of semi-annual conferences between 
different locals and district councils, having the power to 
legislate for locals represented, subject to the approval of 
the General Executive Board. This resolution was de- 



THE BREAK IN 1914 



79 



feated. Many other resolutions of the same purport were 
introduced at this and later conventions. One recommended 
that all branches of the trade be represented on the executive 
board and another recommended the representation of each 
principal market. In 1912 a drastic resolution was brou^t: 

" We have resolved, The only means to bring about a power- 
ful organization is with an industrial war, which will involve 
aU occupations affiliated with the U. G. W. And it must ex- 
tend wherever the U. G. W. has jurisdiction, and tie up the 
enfare clothmg industry, at such time as the delegates see fit ; 
and we must have a uniform price for every occupation ♦ ♦ * 
We are using old-time methods ♦ ♦ ♦ The garment workers 
cannot expect the rest of the tailors of this country to be 
orgamzed and to have confidence in it or respect for it unless 
It gives some evidence of thought and inteUigence and a careful 
consideration and genuine intention on this and other important 
matters before us demanding solution." 

The committee on resolutions recommended that this be 
received and spreiffl on the minutes," which was done 
The utter failure of the United Garment Workers to 
understand the demand for industrial unionism was shown 
conclusively in the General Executive Board report to the 
1914 convention: 

,, "J!?^ ^^^ *°f <^ry ^or an industrial form of organization in 
the tailoring industry is difficult to understand * ♦ ♦ It is 

f rnn'^^i!'"^? ""^ ^°"'' ^"""f '*^ Executive Board that this conven- 
anv foZJ^ir r^'^.fi! ^^'^y ?PP°«^ *^ amalgamation in 
S?J r^- . !i*"°' T^^ ''^^ ^^ *^^ °**^^^ organizations in 
tte clothing trade, and that the incoming general executive 

S- r T"^^'"^ .*" '''''' ^^y encrolcfment upon our 
jurisdiction by any other union." 

The constitution of the United Garment Workers pro- 
viding as It did for local autonomy and dependence of the 

Inw"^- ^'"'^^ *" ^"^''^' ^®^^^^' l^'^* it^^lf readily to 
autocratic control on the part of the officers. A few ex- 
amples will show how the extraordinary powers held by the 
officers and General Executive Board mider the constitution 
were misused by them. Foremost among these wa. the 
power to grant charters, which the general officers used so 



80 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

as to strengthen their control of the union. Strikes were 
referred directly to the general office. No person was 
entitled to strike benefits unless he had been a member in 
good standing at last three months before the strike was 
declared. One article sought to protect the officers from 
criticism by providing for trial of members in "cases when 
a general officer has been slandered or libelled." Thus effec- 
tive criticism was often stifled by fear of expulsion and loss 
of a job. 

In addition to constitutional powers originally conferred 
upon them, the? officers were constantly seeking to strengthen 
their hold by bringing in new resolutions. It should be 
noted that for years the officers had effectively controlled 
the conventions either through the appointment of commit- 
tees or through control of the delegates, or through over- 
representation of those locals favorable to themselves — and 
often by all of these methods. This last expedient was made 
possible by the power to grant charters to any nimiber of 
locals. The result was the chartering of many numerically 
small locals in those districts favorable to the administra- 
tion, especially among the overall and shirt workers. Con- 
sequently, although their delegates sometimes out-numbered 
the delegates of clothing locals for purposes of voting, they 
were not actually representative of the majority of the 
membership. Thus by one means or another resolutions 
brought by officers were generally adopted, while those op- 
posing them were imf avorably reported and lost. 

One of the most striking resolutions seeking to secure the 
power of the officers was brought by Secretary Larger in 
1906. He recommended that the general officers be given 
power to suspend immediately any local refusing to obey 
their orders. This recommendation despite much opposition 
was finally carried. Two constitutional amendments as to 
discipline were not even voted on by the convention but were 
merely concurred in by the Board and subsequently referred 
to as " amendments to our by-laws." In 1912 Sidney Hill- 
man, then chief deputy for the Hart, Schaffner and Marx 
workers, forced a hearing for two delegates whom Rickert 



THE BREAK IN 1914 



81 



attempted to disfranchise under these '' by-laws," without 
giving them a hearing. 

Due to the combined efforts of Rickert and Larger, nine 
resolutions for reform elections were reported unfavorably 
by the conunittee. Among these were resolutions for the 
secret ballot, for the restoration of the referendum, for the 
removal of officers by referendum and other similar reforms. 
It should also be noted that in 1912 as in most other years, 
Rickert and Larger were elected by acclamation. Never- 
theless, strong opposition was already being shown, at that 
time, to their administration. Though the constitution 
originally provided for a referendum vote, the officers had 
tried to aboUsh it as early as 1906. To quote Rickert, who 
claimed to approve of the referendum in theory : " It has 
been conclusively demonstrated that in our organization for 
the general interest of its progress, the referendum has been 
an absolute failure. I would recommend that the consti- 
tution be so changed as to give the convention power to 
decide * * * without submitting it to a referendum vote." 
This resolution was adopted by vote of 44 to 17. 

In opposing these resolutions to restore the referendum, 
Rickert, in 1912, said: "The referendum vote has been a 
bar to progress and advancement. I would leave the law 
as it is, giving the locals and G^eneral Executive Board the 
right to submit amendments between conventions, but feel 
that all laws adopted at conventions should go into effect 
without being submitted to the vote of the people." One 
of the measures thus passed was a resolution introduced by 
one of the officers raising the salaries of the general officers 
and awarding themselves back pay for two years, without 
referring this question to the membership. 

The abuse of the union label as practised by the officers 
of the United Garment Workers is cited in the New York 
convention of 1914 as one of the tailors' most serious griev- 
ances and a direct cause of the revolt. From the beginning 
the United Garment Workers had neglected the organiza- 
tion of the tailors to a far greater extent than the organiza- 
tion of the overall and shirt workers. The explanation for 



82 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 



THE BREAK IN 1914 



83 



I 

I 



this discrimination is to be found in the fact that, through 
the use of the union label, the Garment Workers were able 
to control the overall workers more effectively than they 
could hope to control the tailors. The sale of union labels 
was the great activity of the United Garment Workers and 
they naturally found it profitable to devote most of their 
energies to organization in those branches in which the union 
label could be most readily used. As a result the union label 
was a serious cause of friction between the overall and shirt 
workers and the tailors. 

In the hands of the officers of the United Garment 
Workers, the label, instead of being a safeguard to the 
workers as it was intended to be, became a dangerous weapon 
whereby large funds were extorted from the membership 
and misused, standards lowered, and the workers, either 
ignorant of the working of this system or else helpless to 
remedy it, were often forced to scab on each other. The 
union label became one of the most important sources of 
revenue for the officers. The United Garment Workers 
were supposed to sell labels to firms that were under agree- 
ment as to conditions of work and employed only union mem- 
bers. But in practice the granting of labels often amounted 
to conspiracy with the employers, some of whom retained 
the use of labels without conforming to union standards. In 
many cases the tailors knew the conditions of union label 
shops to be worse than the conditions in non-label houses. 

Such use of the label proved to be profitable, however, 
and the officers again and again emphasized the advantages 
of the union label and urged their more extended use. Large 
sums were spent on labels and label advertising that might 
have gone into organization work. In one year, 1906, the 
general officers spent approximately $16,656 for organizing, 
$18,250 for strike benefits, $24,572 for labels and $10,748 
for label advertising and propaganda. 

In 1912 President Rickert said that the union label was 
" the most effective weapon that can be utilized by the wage 
earners of America. Its general demand would in a great 
measure bring peace to the labor movement. The exploita- 



tion of the laborer would cease and strikes and lockouts 
would be minimized * ♦ * the working men and women of 
this country do not appreciate the full value of the union 
label and hence it becomes necessary to have a large corps 
of label promoters in the field." 

Often strikes in non-label shops would be given support 
by the United Garment Workers, while strikes in label shops 
would be betrayed by their own officers who supplied the 
employers with scab workers, to whom they had given union 
books. The workers for a long time did not dare to voice 
their grievance openly for fear of losing their jobs through 
the union. Such complaints as were made, to the effect that 
the officers were too lenient with firms that misused the 
label, were repeatedly ignored. Thus, for instance, many 
clothing manufacturers were enabled to retain the use of the 
label, despite the protests of the workers, when in reality, 
clothes in these shops were made under the worst sweat- 
shop conditions. 

In 1906 a Chicago local protested against the selling of 
the label to special order coatmakers, who were using 50 
per cent, non-union helpers, but no action was taken on 
this complaint. 

In view of their use of the union label, the union officers 
naturally considered strikes an unnecessary expense and in- 
terruption, and they concerned themselves as little with the 
improvement of conditions through strikes as with the work 
of organization. 

Faced by these abuses and the waning strength of the 
organization, both numerically and financially, the progres- 
sive members began to organize for resistance. As the time 
for the 1914 convention approached, the dissatisfaction of 
the workers came to a head and it was apparent to the offi- 
cers that it would be difficult for them to retain their power. 
The methods used in past conventions they realized would 
not be sufficient to stem the tide of indignation that the 
tailors' locals were now showing more and more openly. 
" There was a general and widespread dissatisfaction among 
the membership with the former international administra- 



84 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 






II 



(i i 



h 



tors who never axjted in accord with the membership ♦ * ♦. 
The membership growing ever stronger and more self-con- 
scious, looked forward to the biennial convention as the place 
for correcting the different evils they were suffering 

from." 

Nashville was chosen as the convention city for 1914, pri- 
marily because it was convenient for the overall and shirt- 
workers and very inconvenient for the clothing workers. 
An active campaign was waged by the clothing locals 
throughout 1914 against the re-election of the old officers. 
The selection of Nashville as the convention city was re- 
garded as the first step toward reducing the power of these 
opposing locals. A motion to hold the convention in a more 
central location (Rochester), which was constitutionally 
made by a tailors' local and constitutionally seconded, was 
ignored by Secretary Larger and no vote was allowed, al- 
though the constitution specifically provided for such refer- 
endimi. In giving the reason for his refusal to put this 
motion to referendum vote, Secretary Larger said that some 
of the locals seconding the motion were in arrears, whereas 
in fact locals charged with arrears had not yet had their 
accounts audited and were therefore supposedly in good 
standing. Motions to remove Larger for unconstitutional 
behavior were likewise ignored. At the convention Larger 
evaded the issue by making it appear that he was charged 
with violation of an entirely different clause of the constitu- 
tion. 

Referendum on a change of the convention city having 
been refused, in spite of the financial difficulty for a large 
number of eastern locals and in spite of the unconstitu- 
tionality of the procedure, the convention was called for 
October 12th at Nashville, Tennessee. The call included 
the following rulings for representation and credentials: 

" Representation in the convention will be based on the aver- 
age membership on which local unions paid per capita tax for 
the twenty-five months ending August 81 st, immediately pre- 
ceding the convention. Delegates are not entitled to seats in 
the convention unless all the indebtedness of their local union 



THE BREAK IN 1914 



85 



to General Office has been paid in full to August 31, 1914, and 
unless the Local Union has paid per capita tax to the Inter- 
national Union on all its members. At this convention matters 
of the greatest importance to the workers will be discussed and 
acted on, and every effort will be made to broaden the field and 
means for the organization of the yet unorganized workers in 
the clothing industry. Therefore, the importance of our move- 
ment, the duty to the present and for the future, demand that 
every local union entitled to representation shall send its full 
quota of delegates to the Nashville convention, October 12, 
1914." 

But the officers of the United Garment Workers knew 
that they would have to take even more drastic steps to hold 
their own against the rising opposition of the clothing dele- 
gates. Having already violated the constitution by refusing 
to submit the motion to convene in RxxJiester to referendum 
vote, they proceeded to disfranchise the majority of the 
opposing locals' delegates. In August, just before the elec- 
tion of local delegates. General Auditor Haskins was sent 
out to audit the books of the locals. He reported large in- 
debtedness against those locals known to be in opposition 
to the officers of the United Garment Workers and declared 
them to be in arrears. On September 12th a circular letter 
was sent to all the locals thus charged with arrears, telling 
them that no credentials would be issued to delegates of 
locals whose bills were not paid. The letter rested this policy 
on the following clause in the Constitution : 

"Section 10 of Article III of our International Constitu- 
tion reads as follows: 

" No Local Union shall be entitled to representation at the 
biennial convention unless the per capita tax and assessments 
are paid up to the first day of September preceding the con- 
vention. Your Local Union owes $ per Auditor 
Haskins' statement, which is herewith attached. Immediately 
on payment of the amount due as above stated, this office will 
forward credentials to your Local Union. The Local Union 
failing to pay its indebtedness, will receive no credentials and 
will not be entitled to representation at the coming convention." 

The bills in most cases were declared by the locals to be 
fabricated for the purpose of disfranchising the local, and 



1 



86 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

in many cases were ridiculously large. The amount charged 
the New York local alone was $75,000. On September 28th 
a second letter was sent to these locals, threatening them 
with non-representation unless they paid at once. In both 
letters the officers claimed to be acting as required by the 
constitution. In reality, however, the letters and the whole 
proceeding were in violation of the constitution and the rights 
of the local unions concerned. According to the constitu- 
tion, the representation of locals was to be based on the aver- 
age membership on which local unions had paid the per 
capita tax for the twenty-four months immediately pre- 
ceding the convention, no local union having more than four 
delegates. The delegates were not entitled to seats unless 
all the indebtedness of their local unions to the General Office 
had been paid in full up to August 31, 1914, and unless the 
local union had paid the per capita tax to the General Office. 
The locals charged with arrears, however, were not in ar- 
rears as provided by the constitution, inasmuch as they had 
paid the per capita tax for the twenty-four months ending 
August 31 st, as well as the assessments called for, and had 
elected delegates in proportion to the membership on which 
they had paid the tax. Even if this had not been the case, 
however, another clause in the Constitution provided that any 
union three months in arrears shall be allowed until the 
seventh day of the fourth month, and if not then paid, shall 
be suspended, and also that the Gteneral Secretary shall 
notify the local when two months in arrears. None of the 
locals charged had been so notified by the Secretary or sus- 
pended for non-payment. The indebtedness reported by 
Haskins was in fact new, and the locals had never previously 
been informed of it. All were constitutionally, therefore, in 
good standing and " their standing was in no way impaired 
by the claim, made at the last hour, that they were indebted 
to the organization for per capita taxes or assessments ih 
addition to those regularly paid by them from month to 
month." 

The locals claimed, moreover, that even if the indebted- 
ness reported had been correct, they were not given suffi- 








Chicago members of the General Executive Board 

A. D. Marimpietri ^ it- Frank Rosenblum 

c^.j „. ^ oamuel Levin oi. u ci i 

Sidney Rissman Stephen Skala 



86 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

in many cases were ridiculously large. The amount charged 
the New York local alone was $75,000. On September 28th 
a second letter was sent to these locals, threatening them 
Avith non-representation unless they paid at once. In both 
letters the officers claimed to be acting as required by the 
constitution. In reality, however, the letters and the whole 
proceeding were in violation of the constitution and the rights 
of the local unions concerned. According to the constitu- 
tion, the representation of locals was to be based on the aver- 
age membership on which local unions had paid the per 
capita tax for the twenty-four months immediately pre- 
ceding the convention, no local union having more than four 
delegates. The delegates were not entitled to seats unless 
all the indebtedness of their local unions to the General Office 
had been paid in full up to August 31, 1914, and unless the 
local union had paid the per capita tax to the General Office. 
The locals charged with arrears, however, were not in ar- 
rears as provided by the constitution, inasmuch as they had 
paid the per capita tax for the twenty-four months ending 
August 31st, as well as the assessments called for, and had 
elected delegates in proportion to the membership on which 
they had paid the tax. Even if this had not been the case, 
however, another clause in the Constitution provided that any 
union three months in arrears shall be allowed until the 
seventh day of the fourth month, and if not then paid, shall 
be suspended, and also that the General Secretary shall 
notify the local when two months in arrears. None of the 
locals charged had been so notified by the Secretary or sus- 
pended for non-payment. The indebtedness reported by 
Haskins was in fact new, and the locals had never previously 
been informed of it. All were constitutionally, therefore, in 
good standing and " their standing was in no way impaired 
by the claim, made at the last hour, that they were indebted 
to the organization for per capita taxes or assessments in 
addition to those regularly paid by them from month to 
month." 

The locals claimed, moreover, that even if the indebted- 
ness reported had been correct, they were not given suffi- 








Chicrtgo members of the General Executive Board 

A. 1). Marinn)ietri ^ it- Frank Rosenblum 

.,. , ,,. ' Samuel Levin c^, , ^i i 

Sidnev Rissman Stephen bkala 



THE BREAK IX 1914 



87 



cient time to pay. They pointed out that the constitution 
provided for certain contingencies, such as unemployment, 
that might excuse delay. In this event, therefore, the issue 
would be one of the facts in the case. It was the duty of 
the officers to ascertain the facts, to ask the local to prove 
the existence of the extenuating circumstances, and to require 
it to appear in its own defense. But no opportunity for a 
hearing was given the locals, either to protest their indebted- 
ness or to prove the existence of these circumstances. The 
letters arbitrarily assumed the facts: 

**We desire herewith to notify you of that fact, [that all 
local unions in question are not entitled to representation * ♦ * 
and will not be seated], so that if your Local Union is unable 
to pay up, you will know that your delegates cannot be seated." 

Finally, the constitution provides that a Committee of 
Credentials shall pass on the right of delegates to sit, and 
the clothing workers held that it was therefore both uncon- 
stitutional and autocratic for the Executive Board and 
officers to take it upon themselves to decide the facts, and to 
act upon their own decision. It was plain to the delegates 
that it was the purpose of the national officers to disfranchise 
the locals they feared in whatever way they found possible. 
The Convention opened Monday morning, October 12, 
in Capitol Hall, Nashville, Tenn. The New York delegates, 
the great majority of whom represented locals declared in 
arrears, circulated a printed appeal to the delegates stating 
their case and urging that they be admitted to the conven- 
tion. 

** A determined effort is now being made by the Greneral 
Officers of our organization to prevent the delegates of our 
locals from being seated at the Convention. And with that 
end in view, the Greneral Officers have presented to the locals 
enormous bills for alleged deficiencies. 

** Whether or not these bills are correct is not the question 
before you at the present time. In most instances our locals 
claim that they are incorrect. This question must be adjusted 
through the regular channels of administrative procedure. If 
our locals should be found to be indebted to the United Garment 
Workers they will pay such indebtedness with all possible expe- 



I 



m 



88 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 



dition, and if they should fail to pay, the United Garment 
Workers will have a constitutional remedy against them. The 
point we wish to make is that the question is entirely foreign to 
the right of our local to be represented in the convention." 

When the Convention opened on October 12, 1914, the 
Credential Committee, appointed by Riekert, submitted a 
partial report, recommending the seating of 198 of 305 dele- 
gates, and making no reference at all to the others, who rep- 
resented clothing locals in opposition to the existing admin- 
istration. The meeting was about to proceed to business 
when Frank Rosenblum, one of the Chicago delegates who 
had been seated, asked if the report of the Credential Com- 
mittee was complete. The President said that it was not yet 
complete and the session was adjourned without further 
action. Consequently, when tlie meeting convened the next 
morning, it was not yet legally organized. All delegates 
therefore had a right to be regarded as equal and having the 
same powers, until the convention was definitely constituted 
by the adoption of the complete report of the Credential 
Committee. From the very beginning, however, the dele- 
gates, whose status was not yet reported by the Conmiittee, 
were refused admittance and were physically barred from 
the floor of the convention hall. About 150 of them (repre- 
senting cutters' and tailors' locals) were thus illegally re- 
fused admittance, and they were only allowed to sit in the 
gaUery. President Riekert was about to proceed with busi- 
ness when Frank Rosenblum raised the point of order on the 
organization of the convention and asked for a vote. The 
motion was put to vote, but Riekert, in coimting, ignored the 
votes of the delegates in the gallery and reported the motion 
a^ " lost." 

Delegate Rosenblum then immediately proposed the sus- 
pension of the roll call, as it was unconstitutional to proceed 
to other business until the Credential Committee had com- 
pleted its report. This objection was cheered and applauded 
with great enthusiasm by the delegates in the gallery. Riek- 
ert overruled Delegate Rosenblum's point of order on the 
grovmd that business would be delayed too long if they were 



THE BREAK IN 1914 



89 



to wait for a full report. Delegate Rosenblum appealed 
from the ruling and delivered a speech denouncing the auto- 
cratic methods of the oflScers and declaring that the delegates 
in the gallery were legally elected representatives of the 
workers with as much right as any, and more than some pres- 
ent, to a vote. He accused the oflScers of using unconstitu- 
tional and dishonest methods to maintain their position, be- 
cause they knew that an honest vote would repudiate them. 
The appeal was put to a vote, and the majority voted in favor 
of the objection, but Riekert again refused to count the votes 
of the delegates in the gallery and declared the motion lost. 
Another motion made by Delegate Rosenblum to add the 
names of these delegates to the report was voted on with the 
same result, Riekert refusing to recognize all votes. 

Delegate Rissman, of Chicago, then moved that "the 
president be removed for having violated the constitution, 
and that in his place be nominated, temporarily. Brother 
Schneid of Chicago." Riekert refused to put the motion to 
a vote, and Delegate Rissman, therefore, put the motion 
himself, counted it, and declared it carried. Delegate Pass 
then moved that since the majority had captured the conven- 
tion, the regular convention representing the majority should 
adjourn and reconvene at the Duncan Hotel. He also put 
the motion, counted the votes, and announced it carried. 

Thereupon all the delegates, whom the general oflScers 
sought to keep out of the convention, without charges, with- 
out a hearing and without a trial, and who represented the 
great majority of the membership, left the building in a body, 
joined by the few clothing workers' delegates who had been 
seated. The overall workers' delegates were practically the 
only ones remaining. The delegates left the building and 
marched through the streets to reconvene at Duncan Hotel. 



90 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

The following call was immediately issued to all delegates : 

**TO THE DULY ELECTED DELEGATES OF LOCALS 

OF THE UNITED GARMENT WORKERS OF 

AMERICA TO THE 18TH BIENNIAL CONVEN- 

TION HELD IN NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE, 

GREETINGS : 

" The Convention of the United Garment Workers of America 

wUl be held this 13th day of October, 1914, at the Duncan 

Hotel, in the City of Nashville, State of Tennessee, at 12 noon. 

** The reason why the location of the Convention is changed 
from the Capitol Hall to the Hall in the Duncan Hotel, corner 
Fourth Avenue and Cedar Street, is that the meetmg place 
originally designated, for the holding of such Convention, has 
been seized by a minority of the delegates duly elected to the 
said 18th Biennial Convention by the locals constituting the 
United Garment Workers of America, and said place being 
improperly, illegaUy and by force, held by said min^V^y' ^« ^^ 
illegal and improperly constituted Convention of the United 

Garment Workers of America. • , , o^u u- 

« And we urge all accredited delegates to the said 18th Bien- 
nial Convention to attend the meetings of the Convention at the 
time above given, and at the place above stated." 

The first session of the Clothing Workers' Convention at 
noon of October 13th was attended by practically all the 
clothing workers' delegates. Mr. Jacob Panken, of New 
York, addressed the convention and was most enthusiasti- 
cally received. A Credential Committee and a few tempo- 
rary officers were elected, and the meeting then adjourned. 
The Convention was called to order in the afternoon by 
Chairman Schneid and the roll call taken. The Chair an- 
nounced that aU officers were absent, including (General 
President Rickert, General Secretary Larger, General 
Treasurer Waxman, General Auditor Haskins, though they 
have all been notified to appear. Committees were then ap- 
pointed and the convention proceeded to regular business 
and reports. On Wednesday, October 14th, the convention 
proceeded to the election of permanent officers amid great 
excitement and enthusiasm. Sidney HiUman, of Local No. 
89, Chicago, was unanimously elected General President of 
the United Garment Workers of America, Joseph Schloss- 




Joseph Schlossberg, General Secretary-Treasurer 



I 



r I 



90 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

The following call was immediately issued to all delegates : 

"TO THE DULY ELECTED DELEGATES OF LOCALS 
OF THE UNITED GARMENT WORKERS OF 
AMERICA TO THE 18TH BIENNIAL CONVEN- 
TION HELD IN NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE, 
GREETINGS : 
" The Convention of the United Garment Workers of America 
wUl be held this 13th day of October, 1914, at the Duncan 
Hotel, in the City of Nashville, State of Tennessee, at 12 noon. 

" The reason why the location of the Convention is changed 
from the Capitol Hall to the Hall in the Duncan Hotel, corner 
Fourth Avenue and Cedar Street, is that the meeting place 
originally designated, for the holding of such Convention, has 
been seized by a minority of the delegates duly elected to the 
said 18th Biennial Convention by the locals constituting the 
United Garment Workers of America, and said place being 
improperly, illegally and by force, held by said minority, as an 
illegal and improperly constituted Convention of the United 
Garment Workers of America. 

" And we urge all accredited delegates to the said 18th Bien- 
nial Convention to attend the meetings of the Convention at tlie 
time above given, and at the place above stated." 

The first session of the Clothing Workers' Convention at 
noon of October 13th was attended by practically all the 
clothing workers' delegates. Mr. Jacob Panken, of New 
York, addressed the convention and was most enthusiasti- 
cally received. A Credential Committee and a few tempo- 
rary officers were elected, and the meeting then adjourned. 
The Convention was called to order in the afternoon by 
Chairman Schneid and the roll call taken. The Chair an- 
nounced that aU officers were absent, including General 
President Rickert, General Secretary Larger, General 
Treasurer Waxman, General Auditor Haskins, though they 
have all been notified to appear. Committees were then ap- 
pointed and the convention proceeded to regular business 
and reports. On Wednesday, October Uth, the convention 
proceeded to the election of permanent officers amid great 
excitement and enthusiasm. Sidney Hillman, of Local No. 
39, Chicago, was unanimously elected General President of 
the United Garment Workers of America, Joseph Schloss- 




Joseph Sfhlossberg, General Secretar^'-Treasurer 



THE BREAK IN 1914 



91 



berg, of Local No. 156, New York, was unanimously elected 
General Secretary and Tobias Lapun, of New York, was 
elected General Treasurer, while Isidor Kantrowitz, of New 
York, was elected General Auditor. Rosenblum, Marim- 
pietri, Rabkin, and Seinfield of the Overall Workers, were 
elected members of the General Executive Board. Dele- 
gates to represent the United Garment Workers at the Con- 
vention of the American Federation of Labor were also 
elected. The convention was continued in the afternoon at 
407 Union Street, and the officers were officially installed. 
Other business was disposed of or referred to the General 
Executive Board. The next convention was set for 1916 in 
Rochester, New York. 

The organization that emerged from the Nashville Con- 
vention was in reality the nucleus of the Amalgamated Cloth- 
ing WorlkCrs of America. The name, United Garment 
Workers of America, was retained until December, 1914. 

Under the leadership of the new general officers elected 
at the Convention, the United Garment Workers proceeded 
to take up the fight against the old officers of the United Gar- 
ment Workers and to fulfill its promises to the membership. 
Tailor locals in all the markets were in the meantime endors- 
ing the action of their delegates. On October 21st, the 
Chicago locals assembled in a great mass meeting and rati- 
fied the action of their delegates at Nashville in the following 
resolution: 

** Whekeas^ At the Eighteenth Biennial Convention of the 
United Garment Workers of America held in Nashville, Tenn., 
on October 12, 1914, the credential committee reported ad- 
versely upon seating delegates representing seventy-five per cent. 
of the membership of the United Garment Workers of America, 
and 

** Whereas, Every possible effort was made to secure a hear- 
ing and explanation was demanded for such high handed 
methods but the delegates representing only twenty-five per 
cent, of the membership in the hands of the present officers of 
the United Garment Workers of America, in conjunction with 
one Robert Noren, Secretary of the Overall Manufacturers' 
Association and delegates who were absolutely not eligible to 
be seated, denied such hearing and explanation, and 



92 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

"Wheeeas, These proceedings were the most vicious and 
unwarranted denial of the Constitutional law of the United 
Garment Workers of America, and a blot on the good name of 
Organized Labor and a disgrace to the Labor Movement of 
America, and 

"Wheeeas, The delegates representing the seventy-five per 
cent, of the membership of the United Garment Workers of 
America felt it incumbent upon them to safeguard and protect 
the interests of those whom they represented, proceeded to or- 
ganize the Convention of United Garment Workers of America 
under constitution and by-laws of said organization, said con- 
vention was held in the Duncan Hotel and transacted all the 
business pertaining to the United Garment Workers of America, 
and elected a full set of general officers for the ensuing term, 
now, therefore be it, 

** Resolved, That we, the membership of the Chicago Locals 
in mass meeting assembled, October 21, 1914, in the West Side 
Auditorium, heartily ratify the action taken by our delegates 
to protect and safeguard our organization and hereby pledge 
our undivided support to our newly elected officers." 

The old United Garment Workers' officers put up a bitter 
fight. On October 31st, a letter was sent out to all the locals 
by Larger describing the Convention and informing them of 
the status of the new organization in the eyes of the old 
Greneral Officers : 

" The convention held at the Duncan Hotel by the bolters, 
have taken the name of the New United Garment Workers of 
America. They have brought suit against the legally elected 
officers for possession of the national office, therefore we wish 
to advise you to pay no attention to any communication or 
order unless said order or communication is signed by B. A. 
Larger, General Secretary and on the letterhead of Interna- 
tional Office, until further notice. Our offices are in 116-117- 
118-120-122-124 Bible House, New York City, and checks in 
payment of labels and per capita tax MUST he made payable 
to B. A, Larger, General Secretary y as heretofore. Send no 
checks to anyone else and recognize no label secretary except 
those authorized by us to act in that capacity. Recognize no 
local union or member except those who are loyal and in good 
standing in this organization." 

In the meantime legal action, both defensive and oflFensive, 
was taken by the new organization, and a report on their 



THE BREAK IN 1914 



W 



progress was made to the Special New York Convention. 
In November the American Federation of Labor held its 
regular Convention. To it both organizations elected and 
sent delegates, each claiming to be the legitimate organiza- 
tion of the clothing workers. A complete and detailed report 
of the entire situation was printed by the new United Gar- 
ment Workers and circulated among the delegates under 
the title, "The Case of the United Garment Workers of 
America." This report, signed by President Hillman and 
Secretary Schlossberg, was designed to put all the facts 
clearly before the American Federation of Labor. The 
American Federation of Labor, however, refused even to 
give the organization a hearing. The delegates of the 
Rickert faction were recognized and seated because Rickert 
and Larger were the only Garment Workers' officers offi- 
cially known to the American Federation of Labor. On 
November 16th, President Gompers and Secretary Morrison 
sent out a circular letter to the clothing workers' locals in- 
forming them that the United Garment Workers was 
affiliated with the American Federation of Labor and that 
Rickert and Larger were its officers. 

In December, 1914, the General Executive Board of the 
new United Garment Workers sent out a call to all district 
and local unions for a special convention to be held in New 
York, beginning December 25, 1914. The purpose of this 
convention was to begin the constructive work of removing 
** the antiquated and undemocratic forms and methods of our 
organization, as laid out by our present constitution; establish 
such organic laws as will insure to the Membership a deter- 
mining voice in the affairs of our organization * ♦ * not 
only at a time of a great crisis, when the Membership rises 
from under the heel of despotism, but at all times. In short 
the laws and institutions of our organization must be so changed 
as to permit of the freest and fullest expression of the truly pro- 
gressive spirit of our Membership, and enable it to march 
unfettered abreast of the Modern Labor Movement." 

The report of the general executive board to this con- 
vention included a smnmary of their activities during the 
first few months of their progress in the long-neglected work 



I 



94 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 



of organization, and a re-statement of the principles and 
purposes of the organization. At this convention the Gen- 
eral Officers elected at the Nashville Convention were con- 
firmed. Their activities were endorsed by the delegates. 
The Convention proceeded to the drafting and adoption of 
a new constitution suited to the real purposes of the Union. 
It was at this Convention also that the name of the union 
was chosen. An agreement with the Tailors' Industrial 
Union, formerly the Journeymen Tailors' Union, providing 
for their amalgamation with the new clothing workers' 
union, was submitted by the General Executive Board to 
the Convention and was adopted. The agreement was as 
follows : 



«( 



First: This organization shall be known as the Amalga- 
mated Clothing Workers of America. 

** Second : The officers shall consist of : General President, 
General Secretary, General Treasurer, General Auditor, and 
eleven Greneral Executive Board Members, three of whom must 
be from the Tailors' Industrial Union. 

" Third : The Greneral Executive Board shall organize the 
industry into departments when conditions warrant. Such 
department shall have full control of its own funds and shall 
have the right to make such laws to govern its department as 
it sees fit, providing such laws do not conflict with the general 

laws. 

" Fourth : Per capita tax payable to the general office shall 
not be less than fifteen cents per month for each member in good 
standing. 

"Fifth: Method of election of general officers to be left 
until after amalgamation, then for the general membership to 
decide bj referendum." 

With the ratification of^ this agreement and of the new 
constitution, the clothing workers were finally freed from 
the bonds of an unrepresentative and outworn organization. 
The Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America had now 
become a reality in name as well as in fact, and under new 
leadership made its formal entry into the American Labor 
Movement. 



CHAPTER V 



THE STRIKE OF 1915 

The settlement with Hart, SchaflPner and Marx in 1911 
left the rest of the Chicago clothing market unorganized. 
From then until the final victory in 1919 vigorous and con- 
tinned eflfort was made by the Chicago clothmg workers 
union to organize the unorganized shops. For those who 
returned to work in 1911 under non-umon conditions, the 
outcome of the 1910 strike was not a defeat but merely an 
interruption in this long battle that was to last eight years. 
From time to time, organization activity was carried on 
with increased energy. In 1918, for example, a vigorous 
organization campaign that had its fruits was conducted by 
the Chicago union. But the real beginning of the cam- 
paign came in 1915, after the break from the United Gar- 
ment Workers, with the initiation by the Amalgamated 
Clothing Workers of America of a new and more vigorous 
policy of organization throughout the whole country. 

Long before the crisis of 1915 was precipitated, the non- 
union employers in the clothing industry used old and tried 
methods in combatting organization campaigns of the umon. 
The system of blacklisting, which had for so long been 
popular in the Chicago clothing industry, was conducted m 
the Medinah Temple as before. People who were known 
to have joined the Union could not in any circumstances get 
jobs. One worker testifies as follows : 

** I worked for Stein, Bloch & Co., Rochester, New York, and 
as a union man answered the call of a general strike in that city 

for the eight-hour day. . ' , ^ t 

" Eleven months later, the strike still on in Rochester, I came 
to Chicago and had only worked four weeks when a general 
strike was caUed there which was soon lost, and from that time 
to the present the workers have been beaten and the Employers 
Association has been in the saddle. 

** After the strike was lost, I applied to different firms for a 



ir 



'}\ 



96 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

position as cutter and was told by each * go to the Medinah 
Temple and if you get a ticket come back and see us.' 

" Rosenwald of Rosenwald and Weil told me to go over, get 
a ticket and come back to work. I went to the Medinah 
Temple and told them I had a job waiting. I was rebuked for 
not coming there first, told that Rosenwald nor anyone else 
could hire help without consulting the Medinah agency, given 
the third degree, then told there were several ahead of me who 
were more deserving, and anyway they had to investigate. 

" I didn't get the job at Rosenwald but Martin J. Isaacs, 
real head of the Association, told me they had received word 
from Rochester that I had gone out there on a strike and he 
said he didn't think I had been punished enough and he would 
not have me in any of their houses. I appealed to him in the 
name of my wife and baby and he said I should have thought 
of them before I went out on strike." 

As early as March, April and May, 1915, workers were 
discharged for joining the Union and in some cases shops 
were struck in protest against such discharges. This gen- 
eral condition continued until August, 1915, when, at the 
meeting of the General Executive Board of the Amalga- 
mated Clothing Workers in Baltimore, it was decided to 
initiate a country wide campaign of organization with the 
purpose of organizing those sections of the industry that 
still remained unorganized. Of these non-union sections, 
Chicago was of course one of the most important. 

On September 14, 1915, the organization campaign in 
Chicago was formally opened by a mass meeting of almost 
5,000 clothing workers. At this meeting the demands on the 
non-union manufacturers were drawn up and an ultimatum 
issued by the union th*t these demands must be conceded 
by September 27th or their employees would be called out 
on a general strike. On September 16, 1915, the following 
demands were submitted to the non-union clothing manu- 
facturers : 

1. Forty-eight (48) hours shall constitute a week's work, 
which shall be divided as follows: Eight and three-quarters 
hours each week day, except Saturday, and on Saturday four 
and one-half hours ending at 12 o'clock noon. 

2. No employee shall be required to work on a legal holiday 




William A. Cunnea 



Bessie Abramowitz 
(Mrs. Sidney Hillman) 




»it-e3c 




Jacob S. Potofsky, 
Assistant General Secretary-Treasurer 



:J> 



' i 



96 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

position as cutter and was told by each ' go to the Medinah 
Temple and if you get a ticket come back and see us.' 

" Rosenwald of Rosenwald and Weil told me to go over, get 
a ticket and come back to work. I went to the Medinah 
Temple and told them I had a job waiting. I was rebuked for 
not coming there first, told that Rosenwald nor anyone else 
could hire help without consulting the Medinah agency, given 
the third degree, then told there were several ahead of me who 
were more deserving, and anyway they had to investigate. 

" I didn't get the job at Rosenwald but Martin J. Isaacs, 
real head of the Association, told me they had received word 
from Rochester that I had gone out there on a strike and he 
said he didn't think I had been punished enough and he would 
not have me in any of their houses. I appealed to him in the 
name of my wife and baby and he said I should have thought 
of them before I went out on strike." 

As early as March, April and May, 1915, workers were 
discharged for joining the Union and in some cases shops 
were struck in protest against such discharges. This gen- 
eral condition continued until August, 1915, when, at the 
meeting of the General Executive Board of the Amalga- 
mated Clothing Workers in Baltimore, it was decided to 
initiate a country wide campaign of organization with the 
purpose of organizing those sections of the industry that 
still remained unorganized. Of these non-union sections, 
Chicago was of course one of the most important. 

On September 14, 1915, the organization campaign in 
Chicago was formally opened by a mass meeting of abnost 
5,000 clothing workers. At this meeting the demands on the 
non-union manufacturers were drawn up and an ultimatum 
issued by the union that these demands must be conceded 
by September 27th or their employees would be called out 
on a general strike. On September 16, 1915, the following 
demands were submitted to the non-union clothing manu- 
facturers : 

1. Forty-eight (48) hours shall constitute a week's work, 
which shall be divided as follows: Eight and three-quarters 
hours each week day, except Saturday, and on Saturday four 
and one-half hours ending at 12 o'clock noon. 

2. No employee shall be required to work on a legal holiday 




Wllliiun A. Cunnea 



Bessie Abraniowitz 
(Mrs. Sidney HiHman) 








Jacob S. Potofsky, 
Assistant General Seeretary-Treasurer 




THE STRIKE OF 1915 



97 



I 




and no deduction shall be made from the pay of week workers 
for such holidays. 

8. All overtime shall be paid at the rate of time and one-half. 

4. An increase of 25 per cent, in all wages and earnings. 

6. During slack and dull seasons, work shall be distributed 
as equally as possible among all the workers. 

6. Recognition of the Union, so that collective bargaining 
may be established and maintained in the industry. 

7. No employee shall be discharged without cause and all 
fining systems shall be abolished, as well as all blacklisting 
agencies and sub-contracting in the shops. 

8. Suitable arbitration machinery shall be established for 
the adjustment of future complaints. 

9. The minimum scale of wages for week workers shall be as 
follows : 

Cutters, $26 a week. 

Trimmers, $20 a week. 

Examiners and Bushelmen, $20 a week. 

Apprentices, $8 a week. 

10. Suitable provision shall be made for apprentices. 

11. Any contract entered into shall apply to all contractors 
for whose faithful observance thereof the manufacturers shall 
be responsible." 

These demands of the union the clothing manufacturers 
met with their customary contempt. Martin J. Isaacs, at- 
torney for the Wholesale Clothiers' Association, character- 
ized the demands as an attempt to create unrest among the 
working classes. 

" I would not dignify the request for arbitration of differ- 
ences," he said, " by admitting there is anything to arbitrate. 
Conditions are excellent in our factories, the wages are all that 
are desired and the workers are satisfied and willing to stay at 
their posts if only they are left alone. If, however, labor 
agents keep haranguing them on the theory that they are not 
well treated and publicity is given to such a campaign, then 
the workers may become convinced that they are entitled to 
something better and walk out. 

" In case there is a strike, the employees simply will have to 
return to work under the old conditions, because we will not 
recognize the organization making the demands nor any of its 
officials. We know that the great majority of the employees do 
not believe in the Union or its leaders. The employers refuse 
to be frightened. They do not take strike threats seriously." 






1 



98 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

This, in substance, was the attitude of the great bulk of 
the manufacturers. The workers, however, thought differ- 
ently about the matter. Even before the date of the ulti- 
matum had expired shop strikes were occurring throughout 
the city and both the national and local officers of the organi- 
zation used every possible effort to keep the workers in the 
shop imtil a strike was found unavoidable. 

It soon became clear that the manufacturers would refuse 
to negotiate with the union or to submit the union's demands 
to arbitration. Even before September 27th they had 
already requested police protection for their factories, and, 
as in all past strikes in Chicago, the police responded. Chief 
Healy announced that " parades and demonstrations of the 
strikers will be prevented. Captains have received orders 
to halt any street speeches or large gatherings. Details of 
patrolmen and mounted police will be stationed in the im- 
mediate vicinity of all clothing houses. The manufacturers 
will be given the same police protection that any individual 
or business house merits. Though I do not expect any out- 
burst, I am not taking any chances." At the same time 
President Hilhnan announced: " There will be no violence. 
Even picketing of the shops will not be undertaken. Our 
union is strong enough not to require this move. The leaders 
of each shop have been given orders to walk out quietly. 
The same day the strike began we called out four thousand 
workers from the shops of Royal Tailors, Lamm & Co., 
Fred Kaufman and Alfred Decker & Cohn." Together with 
the strike call President Hillman made the following state- 
ment: 

" The clothing manufacturers have been given ample oppor- 
tunity to settle this controversy amicably and have denied our 
request for a conference. Instead of meeting us in a spirit 
of co-operation to work out an agreement such as is now in 
force in the largest clothing establishment in the city they have, 
through their paid agents, sought to ridicule our efforts and 
belittle our organization. Organized in strong associations 
and speaking as a unit through a chosen representative, the 
clothing manufacturers have denied to their workers the priv- 
ilege which they claim and exercise for themselves. 



THE STRIKE OF 1915 



99 



" We have been forced into this fight by the uncompromising 
attitude of our employers and we are in it to stay until the 
clothing workers are accorded a voice in fixing their wages and 
working conditions. We are willing to rest the justice of our 
position with the public or submit to any fair board of arbitra- 
tion. The employers refuse to arbitrate so the workers are 
compelled to fight." 

By September 29th the fight was on and 25,000 men and 
women were on strike. The police continued their anti-union 
activities. President Hillman announced in the Chicago 
newspapers that a captain of police was seen in Mr. Isaacs' 
office on Wednesday afternoon. " I presume he went there 
to receive his instructions. The clothing manufacturers have 
refused to meet us or to arbitrate our claims and they evi- 
dently expect to crush us through the Police Department. 
I issued instructions to our people to observe the law and 
from all the reports I have received they have kept within 
their rights as law abiding citizens. In spite of that, mounted 
policemen have run their horses on to the sidewalks among 
our women and girls, motorcycle poUcemen have clubbed 
our girls and have committed acts of brutality that are a 
disgrace. One of our men was shot by an employer, and 
from the statements of eye witnesses the attack was entirely 
unprovoked and uncalled for." Miss Mary McDermott, 
an investigator for Mrs. Louise Osborne Rowe of the Public 
Welfare Department, made an investigation of alleged 
police attacks during the day and reported numbers of cases 
in which men and women had been roughly handled by the 
police. The tactics of the police had become so vicious that 
President Hillman led a delegation including John Fitz- 
patrick, Edward Nockels, Mary McDowell, Agnes Nestor, 
Victor Olander, Ellen Gates Starr, St. John Tucker and 
Luke Grant to present the case of the strikers to Mayor 
Thompson. The Mayor was " too busy " to see the dele- 
gation, but his secretary told Mr. Hillman that the Mayor 
had sent word to Chief Healy " to stop the unnecessary in- 
terference on the part of the police. The Mayor told the 
Chief to keep the pohce neutral." 

Police brutality did not, however, cease with this promise 






I 



100 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

of neutrality by the Mayor and at the beginning of October 
AJderman John C. Kennedy decided to present to the City 
Council evidence of the police activities and to demand an 
investigation. An investigating committee was appointed 
under the chairmanship of Alderman Henry Utpatel. At 
the hearings of this conmiittee President Hillman, John 
Fitzpatrick and Edward N. Nockels of the Chicago Federa- 
tion of Labor, all announced the willingness of the workers 
to arbitrate their differences with the employers, but the 
employers were obdurate. Martin J. Isaacs, their attorney, 
had already refused to confer with Attorney Jacob G. Gross- 
berg of the State Board of Arbitration concerning mediation 
in the strike. Finally the employers declined to meet the 
committee of the City Council. A letter from the Presi- 
dents of the National Wholesale Tailors' Association and 
of the Wholesale Clothiers' Association stated " that only a 
comparatively small number of employees were not work- 
ing and these on account of fear of intimidation and 
violence." " The present trouble," the letter stated, " was 
due to interference of professional agitators from an outside 
market. The prices paid to workers and the hours of work 
in the houses of these associations, according to available 
statistics, are better than in any competitive market." " The 
employers stand firmly for the open shop principle," said 
Mr. William M. Cahn. " In any pleadings they may have 
with the Aldermen they will not discuss the question of 
arbitration, mediation or compromise. We intend to main- 
tain the open shop." 

Finally, on October 16, 1915, the representatives of the 
clothing manufacturers met the aldermanic committee in 
the office of Acting-Mayor William R. Morehouse and in- 
formed him and the Alderman that they were not interested 
in proposals for arbitration. 

The efforts to obtain a peaceful settlement of the strike 
were still continued, however, not only by the union but 
by disinterested and sympathetic citizens of Chicago. Six- 
teen prominent Chicago women including Grace Abbott, 
Mary McDowell, Mrs. Medill McCormick, Ellen Gates 



THE STRIKE OF 1915 



101 



Starr, and Sophonisba Breckenridge wrote to the Mayor in 
an attempt to enlist his support toward arbitrating the strike. 

" It has been shown," they wrote, " that in spite of the faci 
that Chief Healy's orders to the police were to avoid all un- 
necessary violence, one girl was beaten so severely that her 
breast bone was fractured; others have been hit on the head 
and body so that they carried the marks for days. Still other 
strikers have been seriously injured by private detectives in the 
employ of the manufacturers in the presence of the police with- 
out interference on the part of the latter. The affidavits as to 
these instances have been presented to the City Council and are 
a matter of record. The trials are called for next week. 

" The strikers repeatedly have stated through their agent, 
Mr. Hillman, that they will go back to work and submit their 
demands to arbitration the moment the manufacturers agree to 
do so. The manufacturers, on the other hand, have not only 
refused to make any statement of their position to members of 
this Committee but have even refused to appear before the Com- 
mittee of Aldermen appointed by the City Council to investigate 
the strike, merely sending a representative to say that, as they 
could not be legally compelled to appear, they decline to do so. 

" In view of these facts, and in view of the magnificent record 
made by Chicago through you in the last six months in this 
matter of a peaceful settlement of industrial disputes, we earn- 
estly urge you to take whatever steps may be possible to settle 
the present one, and, by signing the Council order to Chief 
Healy, by offering yourself as an arbitrator, or by any other 
means that may seem to you advisable, prevent our relapse into 
the old evil days of labor wars, days which we had hoped after 
your success in handling the great strikes of the early summer 
were gone forever.** 

The Mayor found, however, that he could not accede to this 
request. 

The strike continued. The strikers marched in monster 
parades. The Council Conmiittee on Police adopted a re- 
port, drawn up by Alderman Buck, censuring the Police 
Department for considering strikers at any time its natural 
enemies. Acting Chief of Police Schuettler agreed to the 
inunediate removal of special policemen from clothing fac- 
tories aflFected by the strike. On October 26th Samuel Kap- 
per, one of the strikers, was shot and killed and a large num- 
ber of others wounded in a riot at Harrison and Halsted 






102 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

streets. More than ten thousand striking garment workers 
paid their tribute at the funeral to this hero of the strike. 

Attempts to arbitrate were again made. A conrnuttee 
of business men and social workers, headed by Miss Jane 
Addams, decided to make a last plea to the Mayor. The 
committee appeared before Mayor Thompson and asked him 
to become chairman of an arbitration board to settle the 
strike. " We thought," said Miss Addams, " that if you 
could be induced to take a hand in the matter we would be 
able to bring some sort of order out of chaos." The Mayor, 
however, still remained obdurate. " The Mayor of the city 
of Chicago," he said, " will not go into this because there is 
violence and as the Mayor of the city of Chicago, he will stay 
out of it because there is violence." In the same way ended 
all attempts to enlist the support of the Mayor of the city 
of Chicago. 

The strike of 1915 was significant for the many features 
that characterized it. The most important of these was the 
attitude of the police toward the strikers and the efforts of 
the Aldermen Buck, Kennedy and Rodriguez to make public 
the effects of police mismanagement and to remedy the situa- 
tion. The Aldermanic hearings on the activities of the 
police uncovered practices that had never been suspected by 
the citizens of Chicago. First Deputy Schuettler admitted 
at the public hearing that the police department employed 
spies and secret agents. " There are agents of the police 
department," he said, " who give us information and have 
done so for years. I defy this committee to compel me to 
reveal their names. I will resign my position sooner than 
do it." The assistant corporation counsel advised the police 
department that it need not give the information to the 
committee. Alderman Buck, in a splendid fight against this 
autocratic use of a public police department, said: " I for 
one want to know whether there are secret agents of the 
police attending these meetings and why they are doing it. 
The same argument was made when the question of the 
police ' squeal ' book being exposed was discussed. In my 







i 



Hi: 



102 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

streets. More than ten thousand striking garment workers 
paid their tribute at the funeral to this hero of the strike. 

Attempts to arbitrate were again made. A comm'ittee 
of business men and social workers, headed by Miss Jane 
Addams, decided to make a last plea to the Mayor. The 
committee appeared before Mayor Thompson and asked him 
to become chairman of an arbitration board to settle the 
strike. " We thought," said Miss Addams, ** that if you 
could be induced to take a hand in the matter we would be 
able to bring some sort of order out of chaos." The Mayor, 
however, still remained obdurate. " The Mayor of the city 
of Chicago," he said, " will not go into this because there is 
violence and as the Mayor of the city of Chicago, he will stay 
out of it because there is violence." In the same wav ended 
all attempts to enlist the support of the Mayor of the city 
of Chicago. 

The strike of 1915 was significant for the many features 
that characterized it. The most important of these was the 
attitude of the police toward the strikers and the efforts of 
the Aldermen Buck, Kennedy and Rodriguez to make public 
the effects of police mismanagement and to remedy the situa- 
tion. The Aldermanic hearings on the activities of the 
police uncovered practices that had never been suspected by 
the citizens of Chicago. First Deputy Schuettler admitted 
at the public hearing that the police de})artnient employed 
spies and secret agents. " There are agents of the police 
department," he said, " who give us information and have 
done so for years. I defy this committee to comj)el me to 
reveal their names. I will resign my position sooner than 
do it." The assistant corporation counsel advised the police 
department that it need not give the information to the 
committee. Alderman Buck, in a splendid fight against this 
autocratic use of a public police department, said : '' I for 
one want to know whether there are secret agents of the 
police attending these meetings and why they are doing it. 
The same argument was made when the question of the 
police ' squeal ' book being exposed was discussed. In my 





THE STRIKE OF 1915 



103 



m 



opinion this secrecy about the inside workings of the police 
department is aU bunk." A similar attaek was made by 
Buck and his associates in the council against the use of 
special police during the strike and a resolution was adopted 
calHng for their removal from the sidewalks in front of or 
in the vicinity of plants affected by the strike. The vigor 
and persistence of the council investigation into poUce 
methods during the strike had a permanent and useful influ- 
ence in that it focussed pubUc attention on police abuses, 
which had developed in secrecy and of which the public was 

ignorant. 

The strike of 1915, like all strikes of the Chicago cloth- 
ing workers, enlisted to an unusual degree the support of 
public-spirited citizens. Nor did their support consist only 
in offering advice and in lending moral succor. They stood 
day after day on the picket line; marched in the union 
parades; distributed circulars; raised money for the strikers; 
carried on campaigns to force arbitration and peaceful ad- 
justment of the issues that had precipitated the strike, and 
in every way contributed toward the support of the strikers 
and toward presenting the facts of the fight to the public. 
The value of the services of such women during the strike 
as Ellen Gates Starr, Mrs. Raymond Robins, Jane Addams, 
Ameha Sears, Mrs. Lillie, Mrs. John Furie, Grace Abbott, 
and others, was incalculable. Without almost a single im- 
portant exception the sympathy of the public leaned to the 
side of the workers and had its effect in weakening and un- 
dermining the morale of obstinate employers. The weight 
of public opinion, indefinable and hard to estimate, neverthe- 
less had in the long run its influence. 

Organized labor, likewise, in Chicago did not refuse to 
share its responsibility in the strike. As in 1910, John Fitz- 
patrick and Ed Nockels stood in every way behind the 
strikers. When, in the course of the strike, the American 
Federation of Labor and United Garment Workers issues 
were raised, for the purpose of diverting everyone's atten- 
tion from the real issues, both Fitzpatrick and Nockels 
unequivocally and emphatically urged the support of the 



¥ 



!: 



104 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

members of the Amalgamated. The attack by Nockels and 
Fitzpatriek on Martin J. Isaacs, the manufacturers' attorney 
and director of the blackhsting bureau in the Medinah 
Temple, left no doubt as to where they stood. " He has 
sweated and gouged garment workers," said Fitzpatriek, 
" and brow-beaten customers, has always been victorious and 
able to turn to his employers with a smile and say * I have 
delivered you again.' " 

Throughout the strike public intervention had been a dis- 
mal failure. Attempts to force mediation or arbitration of 
differences, urged by club women, Jane Addams, the State 
Board of Mediation, the Aldermanic Committee and sup- 
ported by Hillman and his associates, were every time re- 
jected by the employers and greeted by specious and evasive 
statements from Mayor Thompson. The strikers were will- 
ing to arbitrate; newspapers urged public mediation; all 
classes of citizens proposed plan after plan for peaceful ad- 
justment. But employers and city authorities alone re- 
mained adamant. 

So the strike had to go on. On December 12, 1915, the 
strike was called off. It was not lost. Workers returned to 
their shops not as unorganized men and women but as mem- 
bers of the union. Although the union was not recognized, 
the employers were forced by the strength of the organization 
to make important concessions to those who had returned to 
work. The stopping of the strike was only a breathing spell 
in the struggle for organization. In 1916 the fight broke out 
in a city-wide strike of the cutters. This likewise did not 
end in formal recognition ; but cutters returned to the shops, 
receiving advantages which could only come to those whose 
strength was realized by the employers. Recognition was 
now only a question of time; and it came in 1919. 

The strike of 1915 was from the employers' angle a futile 
engagement. It was an expensive postponement of the day 
of peace and recognition. Through it all one vnse and ex- 
perienced observer of industrial strife and peace, watched 
the proceedings and recorded his observations. At the time 




15,000 Striking Chicago Clothing Workers on Parade October 12, 1915 



104 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

members of the Amalgamated. The attack by Nockels and 
Fitzpatrick on Martin J. Isaacs, the manufacturers' attorney 
and director of the blackhsting bureau in the Medinah 
Temple, left no doubt as to where they stood. *' He has 
sweated and gouged garment workers," said Fitzpatrick, 
" and brow-beaten customers, has alvvavs been victorious and 
able to turn to his employers with a smile and say * I have 
delivered you again.' " 

Throughout the strike public intervention had been a dis- 
mal failure. Attempts to force mediation or arbitration of 
differences, urged by club women, Jane Addams, the State 
Board of Mediation, the Aldermanic Committee and sup- 
ported by Hillman and his associates, were every time re- 
jected by the employers and greeted by specious and evasive 
statements from ilayor Thompson. The strikers were will- 
ing to arbitrate; newspapers urged public mediation; all 
classes of citizens proposed plan after plan for peaceful ad- 
justment. But employers and city authorities alone re- 
mained adamant. 

So the strike had to go on. On December 12, 1915, the 
strike was called off. It was not lost. A\'orkers returned to 
their shops not as unorganized men and w.')men but as mem- 
bers of the union. Although the union was not recognized, 
the employers were forced by the strength of the organization 
to make important concessions to those who had returned to 
work. The stopping of the strike was only a breathing spell 
in the struggle for organization. In 1916 the fight broke out 
in a city-wide strike of the cutters. This likewise did not 
end in formal recognition ; but cutters returned to the shops, 
receiving advantages which could only come to those whose 
strength was realized by the employers. Recognition was 
now only a question of time; and it came in 1919. 

The strike of 1915 was from the employers' angle a futile 
engagement. It was an expensive postponement of the day 
of peace and recognition. Through it all one wise and ex- 
perienced observer of industrial strife and peace, watched 
the proceedings and recorded his observations. At the time 




15,000 Striking Cliicago Clotliing Workers on Parade October 12, 1915 



THE STRIKE OF 1915 



105 



they had no more than an indirect influence. In retrospect, 
however, the following comments from the pen of J. E. Wil- 
liams, then Chairman of the Board of Arbitration in Hart, 
Schaffner and Marx, lend a significance to the events of 
1915 which a bare recital of its incidents cannot yield: 

" In the Trenches, 

" Chicago, Nov. 19, 1915. 

** T}^^ clothing workers' strike is now on its eighth week, with 
no visible signs of ending. The dead-lock is as complete as that 
on the French frontier. Both sides have dug themselves in, and 
the war seems to have settled down to attrition and endurance. 
Not alone in dogged obstinacy does this industrial war compare 
with that in Europe; for in strategy, in generalship, in the 
fighting spirit of rank and file, the Chicago battle will compare 
in its degree, with the titanic struggle in the Old World. 

** Strikes there have been before in the garment industry, and 
they have been fierce, violent, and hotly contested; but there 
has been none like this in organization, management, and, in 
the thoroughly planned and scientific efficiency of campaign. 
Previous strikes have been spontaneous uprisings of an 
aggrieved and infuriated populace, ruled by the mob spirit, 
with little or no leadership, with less plan or method. The pres- 
ent strike was planned with a coolness and thoroughness com- 
parable to that of the general staff in Germany. Although the 
hand of the general was forced rather prematurely, yet the war 
with the anti-union manufacturers of Chicago had long been 
regarded as inevitable, and there was no lack of preparedness 
on part of the union. Organization had been perfected with 
each factory as a unit, and in charge of each factory group 
was placed a chairman, who was made responsible for his 
people. Over the chairmen were placed district leaders, over 
these department commanders, and above all the chief general- 
issimo, President Sidney Hillman. 

Well Deilled Aemy. 

•* When the strike was called the general found himself in 
command of a well drilled, thoroughly officered, army. He 
could give a command from his headquarters in the LaSalle 
Hotel, and instantly the general staff at Hod Carriers Hall 
would transmit it to the eager and expectant chairmen on the 
north, south, and west sides, who would put the order into exe- 
cution on the second. 

** Thus it is that the movement is able to conduct itself with 



|i^ 



I: f 



I 



i I 



106 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

such solidarity and precision. Everything in the campaiim is 
foreseen, nothing is left to chance, and the eighth week finds the 
union hosts in better fighting trim than at the beginning of the 
strike. If the Joint Board, which is the name of the General 
Staff were to deem it advisable to caU off the strike tomorrow it 
would be done deliberately, forethoughtedly, and the retreat 
would be accomphshed and in good order. Like the overpowered 
armies of Europe they would retire to a more favorable position, 
only to renew the battle as soon as more munitions were obtained. 

No Retreat in Sight. 
" But there is no sign of a retreat as yet. General HiUman 
assures me his lines are still intact, that supplies of munitions 
are coming m steadily, and unless the unforseen happens to his 
supphes he can hold the fort for another ten or twelve weeks. 
He admits, however, that the demand on the treasury is increas- 
ing. It IS costing about $20,000 a week to run the strike, and 
when It IS remembered the battle was begun with an empty 
treasury, and its cost has been borne largely by garment work- 
ers not on strike, it will be seen the financing of the campaign 
has been phenomenal. It is the stress of this need which now 
brings Miss Jane Addams and her colleagues to the front in 
an effort to raise $10,000 a week to help carry on the strike. 

Manufacturers Stand Pat. 

;* It may be asked what the associated manufacturers arc 
doing on their side of the trenches. 

"So far as can be known, they are simply standing pat. 
Silently relentlessly, inscrutably, like the sphinx, they defy 
every attempt to make them speak. Approached by judges, 
city officials, state arbitrators, eminent citizens, their attitude 
IS always the same-silence. Deaf to importunities of press or 
representatives of the social welfare, their voiceless lips seem 
to^give out only the old answer—* the pubhc be damned.' 

And yet, through the aid of a friendly intermediary, I have 
been able to penetrate this screen of silence, and to hear the 
explanation that some of the more conscientious manufacturers 
give of their obduracy. It runs something like this : 

** We regard Sidney HiUman very highly. We believe him 
honest, high-minded, and capable. But we don't believe he 
can control his people. It is notorious that union leaders in 
wlift^,^""* *f*^f ^^^ short-lived; they kill each other off. 
With HiUman dead or dethroned we should be back in the hands 
of the old grafting pirates, who would not enforce an 
agreement, who would foment shop strikes for the purpose of 



THE STRIKE OF 1915 



107 



extorting money out of us, who would destroy the quality of 
our work, which has cost us so much to build up, who would, in 
short, make life a hell to us and either drive us out of busi- 
ness or into insane asylums.' 

Give Hillman a Chance. 



cc 



I repeated this story to the little general, and he replied 
laconically : 

" * Why don't they give Hillman a chance?' 

" And that is the only answer. Whether Hillman can control 
his lieutenants and his people can only be determined by experi- 
ment. 

" I believe he can. Why do I believe it? Because I have 
worked side by side with him for several years, dealing with just 
such questions as these manufacturers will have to face. In no 
instance have I seen him fail to control his officers or his people, 
and there have been plenty of cases in which he has had to 
report unwelcome findings. Yet he has never flinched, never 
failed to courageously face his comrades with unpleasant facts 
and never has failed to win their approval and loyalty. I have 
just received a private letter from one of the greatest generals 
on the opposite side who has worked with Mr. Hillman in much 
bigger situations than this. It contains this statement : 

" ' Too bad Friend Hillman bumped against such a tough 
proposition, but in time his work will be understood, and the 
manufacturers will be ready to treat with him.' 

Plenty of Other Leaders. 

" To be sure aU this relates only to Hillman. But he is not 
alone in the movement. He has scores of colleagues imbued 
with the same ideals as himself, just as eager as he to have 
right principles and practices prevail in the industry. All of 
them are products of the new spirit in trade-unionism, men who 
regard it as the inevitable first step in the great movement 
toward industrial democracy and industrial peace. These men 
are far-sighted enough to know the inevitable limitations of th^ 
prevailing wage system, who have self-restraint enough to ac- 
cept and make the best of it while it is here, who may work for 
the coming of the co-operative commonwealth in some happier 
day, but who do not expect it to co-exist side by side with the 
competitive system here and now. These men may be depended 
on to hold down the wilder spirits in the ranks, who may be 
tempted to rush the movement over some suicidal precipice. 



108 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

The Impartial Thikd Man. 

accid^eni oTl'^^ *\^- "^^^^^^^^^^ ^°^« '^ot depend so much on 
S r l^^^dership as formerly. The mechanism of the 

trade agreement has been so improved that the crooked walking 
delegate has no longer any chance to graft. The introduction 
of the impartial third man as umpire shears him of his power 
of mischief. He can no longer order a stoppage and hoW u^ 
his employer for graft to caU it off. Under the new dispensa^ 
tion aU grievances must be brought before the joint board, and 

ma'k: ': "ir^'Z if ^^ **^^ ^^^^^^ -^ *^^ business r^nt to 
make trouble. Neither need there be any misgivin/zs about 

quality of work. I have it on the highest authority "that th 
quality of work was never so high in Hart, Schaffner and Marx 
union "'"""' '^"' '^''' ^'' ^^"^^ ^^ co-operation with the 

dollTli? *^''' ^r*' ""^ 'i^'^^^"' *"^ '^ '""''^y demonstrated why 

X tt spS"'^ ^^^'^"^^ *^ «^^^ ''' ^^- -^ -" -<^ t^ 

. IJ^^^'^.u T'u"^.*"''"^^ "^^^P* *" unreasoning timidity, or 
a sW, wilful obstinacy and pride of mastery. ^ 

after thit "^ ""^^^"^ '* '''^* ''*'^^ ^'^^^^^ ^^ *^^ '^*««" 

" Why not settle now?" 



CHAPTER VI 

THE ORGANIZATION OF THE CHICAGO 

MARKET 

The organization of the Chicago market in the spring of 
1919 was a great historic achievement for the Amalgamated 
Clothing Workers. For nine years Chicago had been the 
apparently unconquerable fortress of the clothing manufac- 
turers and of all the forces that opposed the union and its pur- 
poses. Chicago was the last of the big markets to withstand 
the union and with its surrender the Amalgamated became a 
great national organization. The entire period from the 
loss of the 1910 strike to the signing of the market agree- 
ment in 1919 was in reality one continuous campaign for 
organization, sometimes flourishing, sometimes discourag- 
ingly feeble, but never ceasing. It was the work of these 
years and the foundations that they laid, that made the great 
campaign successful. One of the general organizers said 
of the 1919 campaign: 

"It is plainly seen that the attack of 1919 was made by 
veterans, and that the fruits of the campaign were the accumu- 
lated results of the knowledge and experience of ten years of 
constant endeavors." 

The loss of the 1910 strike had been followed by a black 
period for the clothing workers. The real resumption of 
the work of organization began in 1914 after the birth of the 
Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. The general 
strike of 1915 apparently left the workers not much better 
off as far as strength of organization or working conditions 
were concerned; nevertheless, it had important moral results. 
The failure of this strike was followed in 1916 by a strike 
of cutters, which while also apparently a failure, stimulated 
the work of organization and prepared the ground for the 
great drive of 1918-19. The success of the Hart, Schaffner 



110 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 



and Marx agreement and the publicity given to the gains 
of their workers contributed much to the growing dissatis- 
faction among workers in the Association houses. In fact, 
again and again, the Association houses were forced to grant 
concessions in wages or hours in order to hold their workers 
and continue to compete with Hart, Schaffner and Marx. 
Just before the active drive began, the manufacturers, hop- 
ing to weaken the campaign before it began, granted in- 
creases of 10 per cent, to all workers. Finally, the Executive 
Board of the national organization decided on an intensive 
campaign to organize the whole of the Chicago market. The 
campaign started officially in April, 1918, under the imme- 
diate direction of the leaders of the Chicago Joint Board. 
For purposes of organization, Chicago was divided into dis- 
tricts as follows: northwest side, west side and downtown 
districts, the " Loop," and southwest side; a staff of organ- 
izers was assigned to each of these districts and a special 
staff to the cutters and trimmers. 

The campaign opened with a lively distribution of or- 
ganization leaflets and circulars printed in all languages. 
The resolution passed in May, 1918, by the Hart, Schaffner 
and Marx workers, donating one week's increases granted 
them by the firm for the organization of the other Chicago 
workers, was printed in several languages and distributed to 
workers in the unorganized shops. 

An important aspect of the campaign, and one that made 
itself felt almost at once, was the influence of the war and 
of the Government policy in the uniform shops. The ulti- 
mate effect of this policy was to help the union by bringing 
to light and removing the most unfair accusations that the 
employers sought to make against it. The Federal War 
Labor Board laid down the principles of collective bargain- 
ing for the guidance of the Administrator of Labor 
Standards. These principles recognized the right of 
workers to organize and bargain collectively and prohibited 
discrimination against workers by reason of their member- 
ship in labor organizations or of their participation in union 
activities. The union took it upon itself to inform the 





ORGANIZATION OF THE MARKET 111 

workers of their rights to organize under Government regu- 
lations and, when the employers resisted their right to do 
so, took the grievances of the workers to the Administration 
of Labor Standards for adjustment. One of the most im- 
portant of these eases was the John Hall Uniform Factory 
case, in which the firm had discharged the " agitators " who 
attempted to organize their shop in June, 1918, So keen 
was the spirit among the workers that they wanted to strike 
at once to compel reinstatement. President Hillman, how- 
ever, wired the War Department asking that arrangements 
be made for the adjustment of the grievances and in the 
meantime instructed the workers not to strike. Conferences 
were held and the grievances eventually satisfactorily 
settled. Those who had been discharged were reinstated, 
wages were readjusted after a thorough investigation, and 
the employers were ordered to deal with the organization of 
their employees in accordance with the principles of the War 
Labor Board. Several other firms were charged with vio- 
lating the Government war labor program by discharging 
workers because of their union membership or activity. The 
charges were investigated and proved to be true. ^ Under 
pressure of the Administrator, one of the firms, which had 
discharged eight representatives elected by their fellow- 
employees to serve on a committee, reinstated these workers 
with back pay, recognized the shop committee, and agreed 
to the other demands of their workers. 

A similar situation occurred in the Scotch Woolen Mills. 
After a long strike, the firm secured a sweeping order from 
Judge Smith enjoining the Amalgamated from picketing 
or maintaining pickets at or near the premises of the com- 
plainants or along routes followed by employees of com- 
plainants m going to and from their business, from watching 
or spying on places of business or employees, or those going 
m and out, or seeking to do business, from congregating 
near places of business or employees for purposes of com- 
peUing, inducing, or soliciting emplovees to leave their em- 
ployment, or to attempt in any way to induce employees to 
leave their employment. But when the Scotch Woolen Mills 




OIUiAXIZATIOX OF TIIK MAliKKT 111 

workers of their rights to organize under Government regu- 
lations and, when the employers resisted their right to'^do 
so, took the grievances of the workers to the Administration 
of Labor Standards for adjustment. One of the most im- 
portant of these cases was the John Hall Uniform Factory 
case, in which the firm had discharged the " agitators " who 
attempted to organize their shop in June, 1918, So keen 
was the spirit among the workers that they wanted to strike 
at once to compel reinstatement. President Hillman, how- 
ever, wired the War Department asking that arrangements 
be made for the adjustment of the grievances and in the 
meantime instructed the workers not to strike. Conferences 
were held^ and the grievances eventually satisfactorily 
settled. Those who had been discharged were reinstated, 
wages were readjusted after a thorough investigation, and 
the employers were ordered to deal with the organization of 
their employees in accordance with the principles of the War 
Labor Board. Several other firms were charged with vio- 
lating the Government war labor program by discharging 
workers because of their union membership or activity. *The 
charges were investigated and proved to be true. ^ Under 
pressure of the Administrator, one of the firms, which had 
discharged eight representatives elected bv their fellow- 
employees to sen^e on a committee, reinstated these workers 
with back pay, recognized the shop committee, and agreed 
to the other demands of their workers. 

A similar situation occurred in the Scotch Woolen Mills. 
After a long strike, the firm secured a sweeping order from 
Judge Smith enjoining the Amalgamated from picketino- 
or maintaining pickets at or near the premises of the com"^ 
plamants or along routes followed by employees of com- 
plainants m going to and from their business, from watching 
or spying on places of business or employees, or those going 
in and out, or seeking to do business, from congregating 
near places of business or employees for purposes of com- 
pelling, inducing, or soliciting employees to leave their em- 
ployment, or to attempt in any way to induce employees to 
leave their employment. But when the Scotch Woolen Mills 



i 



112 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

refused to appear before Prof. Ripley to answer the charges 
against it, he recommended to the Quartermaster General 
that all contracts with the firm be withdrawn until the firm 
agreed to appear. This was done. The firm of Rosenwald 
and Weil, likewise, had discharged the entire committee 
chosen by its employees and then refused to appear before 
the arbitrator. All the workers had gone on strike when the 
second committee was discharged, but for two weeks the firm 
held out. The demands of the workers as finally arbitrated 
by Professor Ripley included the 48-hour week, with time 
and a half for overtime, double pay for Sundays and no 
work on holidays; recognition of the shop chairman and 
shop committee; no discrimination for membership in the 
Amalgamated Clothing Workers; no arbitrary discharge; 
an increase of 30 per cent, to all workers ; a minimum wage 
for women of $14 and for all operators of $24. After two 
weeks, recognition of the shop chairman and shop committee 
and a promise of no discrimination against union members 
were granted. The rest of the demands were submitted to 
arbitration. 

In the meantime the work of organization was proceeding 
with vigor. One of the earliest successful mass meetings in 
the campaign was held in June, 1918, and added 400 new 
members to the ranks of the organization. The inauguration 
of the campaign brought on the usual program of opposition, 
misrepresentation in the press, and court injunctions. Two 
organizers and President Kroll of Local 61 were arrested 
near factories which they were trying to organize for dis- 
tributing literature and two girls were arrested the same 
evening for speaking to non-union workers as they came out 
of the factory. 

An incident that occurred early in the campaign illus- 
trates the attitude of the police. 

"On November 11, 1918, Armistice Day, the cutters and 
trimmers of Hart, Schaffner and Marx, celebrating the cessa- 
tion of war in Europe, paraded the clothing district of Chicago 
with a large American flag and the red banner of local 61 at 
their head. When they attempted to pass the Scotch Woolen 



ORGANIZATION OF THE MARKET 113 

Mills they found police drawn up clear across the street for- 
bidding them to pass, but the men pressed on. In the scuffle 
the flag dropped low and an officer stepped on it, and when his 
attention was called to what he had done, said : * To hell with 
the flag.' " 
When that was heard the men could no longer be held; they 
swept the police lines aside and charged on the doors of the 
factory. It was these men, who would not be denied, who 
carried on the fight for years in Chicago. 

At the close of the war more organization circulars were 
printed and distributed in great numbers. These brought 
responses from the employers such as the following: 

" WOEKIXGMEN, WaKE Up !" 

"You were induced to walk out by the organizers of the 
Amalgamated Workers. You ignore the fact that your only 
hope for prosperity is production. Produce more, not less, if 
you want to reduce prices ♦ * ♦ Production is the basis oj 
all wealth ♦ ♦ ♦ » 

Some firms attempted to appeal to workers on the ground 
of race prejudice, and others assured the workers that the 
money they paid in for membership dues was being squan- 
dered by their leaders. In the meantime the membership 
continued to grow, thanks to the eflFective work of union 
members not on the staff, as well as by the organizers. 

Organizer Kroll who was in charge of activities of the 
cutters at this time gives an idea of the spirit that prevailed 
among the organization workers: 

" These were the days that 25,000 leaflets would be distri- 
buted in one hour in the mornings, when organizers would be 
arrested for just talking to workers, when cards calling for a 
shop meeting would be passed out in the morning and at noon 
the men would be notified that they would find more money in 
their envelopes. Firms closed their factories before the men 
went out on strike and weeks later opened them again and 
the men refused to return. Cutters would be sent home in 
machines to keep the organizers away. A man seen talking to. 
a union man would be fired the next day. Sluggers and police 
were used in front of the factories even before the strikes were 
on. Banquets were given, profit-sharing and bonuses *A la 



114 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

Rockefeller Foundation ' were proposed. In spite of all of this 
steady progress was being made. 

" The ' Floating Cutter ' came in at this stage of the game. 
These were union men who secured jobs in non-union shops, 
went to work in the morning, talked unionism at noon and re- 
ceived a full week's wages and a discharge in the evening: 
secured another job the next day and went through the same 
performance. There were a number who had a lucrative pro- 
fession for a while." 

On January 8, 1919, Hart, Schaffner and Marx estab- 
lished for its workers the 44-hour week. This action forced 
the non-union manufacturers to move. So on January 22 
the Special Order Tailors made a similar announcement, 
and one week later the Chicago Clothiers' Association an- 
nounced the 44-hour week to become effective in all of their 
shops on April 28. But the Amalgamated Clothing Workers 
decided that the 44-hour week was to be established at once — 
on January 29th, and not on April 28th. The workers of 
Kuppenheimer & Company, in accordance with the decision, 
stopped work on January 29th at 4.30 instead of 5.15 in or- 
der to attend a shop meeting. By stopping at 4.30, they 
made their quitting time the same as that of those who were 
working a 44-hour week. At the shop meeting these workers 
were addressed by Levin, who instructed them to return to 
the shop the next morning, as usual, and to leave again at 
4.30 to attend a shop meeting. The Amalgamated Clothing 
Workers, he announced, would undertake to care for any 
workers discharged for so doing. It is clear that this step 
could not have been taken had not the organization been 
fairly complete by this time. 

On January 28, Alfred, Decker & Cohn published a state- 
ment in the press denying that they were offering the 44- 
hour week to their employees, but at the same time printed 
circulars were appearing which included a promise of a 44- 
hour week, as well as other advantages, provided the workers 
did not join the Union. The firm thought that when the 
workers quit at 4.30 it was a strike and consulted other firms 
in the Association. The result was something of a panic ; a 
hasty change was made in the notices to the effect that the 




Officers and Members Executive Board Coatmakers 

Local 39 




Officers and Members Executive Board Cutters and 

Trimmers Local 61 



^ 



114 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

Rockefeller Foundation ' were proposed. In spite of all of this 
steady progress was being made. 

" The ' Floating Cutter ' came in at this stage of the game. 
These were union men who secured jobs in non-union shops, 
went to work in the morning, talked unionism at noon and re- 
ceived a full week's wages and a discharge in the evening: 
secured another job the next day and went through the same 
performance. I'here were a number who had a lucrative pro- 
fession for a while." 

On January 8, 1919, Hart, SchaflPner and Marx estab- 
lished for its workers the 44-hour week. This action forced 
the non-union manufacturers to move. So on January 22 
the Special Order Tailors made a similar announcement, 
and one week later the Chicago Clothiers' Association an- 
nounced the 44-hour week to become effective in all of their 
shops on April 28. But the Amalgamated Clothing Workers 
decided that the 44-hour week was to be established at once — 
on January 29th, and not on April 28th. The workers of 
Kuppenheimer & Company, in accordance with tiie decision, 
stopped work on January 29th at 4.30 instead of .>.1.5 in or- 
der to attend a shop meeting. Ry stopping at i.30. they 
made their quitting time the same as that of those who were 
working a 44-hour week. At the shop meeting these workers 
were addressed by Levin, who instructed them to return to 
the shop the next morning, as usual, and to leave again at 
4.30 to attend a shop meeting. The Amalgamated Clothing 
Workers, he announced, would undertake to care for any 
workers discharged for so doing. It is clear that this step 
could not have been taken had not the organization been 
fairly complete by this time. 

On January 28, Alfred, Decker & Cohn pu))hshed a state- 
ment in the press denying that they were offering the 44- 
hour week to their employees, but at the same time printed 
circulars were appearing which included a promise of a 44- 
hour week, as well as other advantages, provided the workers 
did not join the Union. The firm thought that when the 
workers quit at 4.30 it was a strike and consulted other firms 
in the Association. The result w as something of a panic ; a 
hasty change was made in the notices to the effect that the 




Officers and Members Executive Board Coatniakers 

Local 39 



i 




Officers and Members Executive Board Cutters and 

Trinnners Local 61 



\ 



ORGANIZATION OF THE MARKET 115 



44-hour week would be established on January 30th. This 
change was made three days after the original notice was 
posted. The significance of this victory was not only that 
approximately 32,000 workers got the 44-hour week on 
January 28th instead of April 28th, but it indicated that the 
Union was in such a position that it could dictate its terms 
and the Association houses knew it. This victory was cele- 
brated by a great mass meeting on February 3d. The organ- 
ization drive proceeded thereafter with renewed energy. 

In the month of February membership grew by leaps and 
bounds, The northwest side, including some 13,000 work- 
ers, was put in charge of Mr. Glickman. With the assistance 
of the business agents and an active organization committee 
of fifteen, with Mr. Diamond as chairman, the work of the 
district was carried on. Meetings were held every morning 
before going to work. The committee had to get more mem- 
bers of the vest shops interested in the campaign, which they 
did to such an extent that after several of these meetings 
there were 50 to 75 members present every morning. The 
committee went on duty in front of shops every morning 
before going to work and left the shop 15 or 20 minutes 
before lunch time and before quitting time in the evening, in 
order to carry on their campaign work. Of course there was 
no pay for time lost. A meeting of one of the Kuppenheimer 
shops, one of the largest and most bitter anti-union shops, 
increased the membership by 50. The story of how this 
victory was won is told by Organizer Glickman : 

" The building at Winchester Avenue, and Bloomingdale 
Road, housing three shops of B. Kuppenheimer was one of the 
fortresses of the Association. During the entire period of the 
campaign, private detectives and sluggers were stationed inside 
and out of that shop. Numerous arrests of our officers and 
committees were made. On one particular evening in the month 
of March, 1919, 12 of our committee men were arrested. Six 
patrol wagons responded to a riot call sent in by the Company. 
Three of our men were badly cut with knives by the Company's 
employees and a great many more men beaten by policemen's 
clubs. In spite of all this, the work of the organization in this 
House was not weakened by this incident, and finally a group 



116 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

of workers of this building attended one of the shop meetings, 
their numbers steadily increasing, until it led to the signing of 
the Agreement." 

Things then began to move more rapidly. 

** About the 1st of March, the people of the firm of Spiesber- 
ger, Erman & Co., a children's clothing house with two coat 
shops and one knee pants shop went on a strike. The usual 
arrests of pickets and slugging of our members took place. 
The majority of the people stayed about 6 weeks, when the 
organization decided to send the people back to work by ar- 
rangement with an elected committee of the people, and only 
a few weeks later, this House came under the general agree- 
ment signed with the Association. The next house to sign was 
the Pellstein Clothing Company, manufacturers of young men's 
clothing. After many shop meetings, demands were presented 
and on Easter Monday, 1919, the agreement with increases both 
for the tailors and cutters was signed. Another important 
event was the strike in the shops of Chas. Kaufman & Bros, 
after months of organization work. The people of that House 
went out on a strike about the middle of February. The cut- 
ters, working in the main building, also went out, and the 
picketing was supervised by these cutters. This House applied 
for and was granted an injunction against our organization, 
restraining us from doing anything except breathing. Many 
a member has had a ride in the patrol wagon. Sluggers and 
strike breakers were employed and after a period of dye weeks, 
the people went back to work and about a month later this 
House came under the general agreement. The overcoat shop, 
**D," of Alfred Decker & Cohn deserves special mention. 
There were about 260 people employed there. As early as 
November, 1918, the organization got a strong hold in this 
shop. In December, 1919, the people had elected Brother Max 
Brown as their chairman at one of the shop meetings. Of 
course, he was not recognized, but due to the strength of the 
organization in this shop, he was not discriminated against. 
The following incident especially is worth mentioning, for it 
showed the spirit of the people as well as the power they com- 
manded in the shop. In the middle of January, 1919, Lichten- 
stein, a collar maker, was discharged by the firm. At this time 
the chairman was taking up some complaints semi-officially with 
the company, so he took up the matter of Lichtenstein's dis- 
charge. After three weeks of unsuccessful efforts, the people 
displayed their strength by stopping work in the shop. This 
stoppage lasted about 2% hours, tying up completely the 



ORGANIZATION OF THE MARKET 117 

entire shop. The Company then re-instated the man, with pay 
for the three week's lost time, and also paid all the people for 
the time they lost during the stoppage. In February, 1919, 
the organization arranged a dance for the people of the shop 
at the Wicker Park Hall, which was an immense success^ as 
not only the people of that shop attended, but invitations wero 
extended to the workers of the other shops of this concern, and 
a great number of these were present. This was practically 
the first time that a shop, belonging to the Association, had 
attended a successful affair given by the Union. In the latter 
part of March, 1919, the people of the shop presented demands 
for recognition of their shop chairman and shop committee, 
also for an increase in wages. After several negotiations, the 
Company refused the people's demands. The people went out 
on a strike. After the first week of the strike, negotiations with 
the Company were started by the Chairman and committee, but 
with no avail; however, after the strike had lasted four weeks, 
successful arrangements were made for all people to return to 
work with recognition of the chairman and committee and nq 
discrimination for union affiliation. The question of increases 
in wages was to be taken up later. The committee held only 
3 or 4 meetings, and just when they were ready to make final 
arrangements, the general agreement was signed with that 
House. 

" During all this time the organization campaign was pushed 
vigorously. Shop meetings were held daily, while the commit- 
tees together with officers went in front of the shops three times 
a day. Many of the large and small shops attended these 
meetings. There were as many as 8 or 10 meetings daily and 
the prevailing spirit was very good. 

" The Cohn & Rissman cutters walked out with the tailors 
early in March. Besides the usual formula of injunctions, slug- 
gers, bribes and the police, the firm tried a new stunt which is 
worth telling. One mid-night the boss and the foreman went 
visiting the cutters' homes in an automobile, telling each one 
that the other was going to work in the morning. A loyal cut- 
ter called Brother Rissman at 12 o'clock and he called Brother 
KroU (they had just come home from a meeting) ; they secured 
a machine and also went visiting about 1 a. m. and insisted that 
each cutter they called on, dress and get in the machine with 
them. So at 5 a. m. there were two-machine-loads of pickets 
in front of the factory and not a man went in. 

** The Charles Kaufman men were also early to strike and 
immediately the 1916 injunction was put on the walls (that 



118 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

was the style — one day a strike and the next day an injunction 
appeared). Despite this they put up a wonderful fight and 
were sent back to work just previous to the signing of the agree- 
ment. 

" The Chicago Tailoring Association men were also organiz- 
ing and one day the astounding news spread through the cloth- 
ing district that every man in the cutting room had received 
a nine dollar raise which made them the highest paid cutters 
in the city, but they continued to organize. 

" The Special Order cutters who were so hard to organize 
were now showing signs of activity. Soon the Bridie and Rog- 
ofsky men were in the union and made a demand for more 
wages and when refused they sat on the tables without working, 
went out at noon and came back and still sat on the tables. 
This continued for a day and a half until their demands were 
granted. Next day two active union men were fired and the 
rest walked out on strike and stayed out until an agreement 
was reached. 

" The International Cutters were next in line. Here union 
men were discharged and the firm refused to reinstate them. 
The men then struck and soon the firm offered to reinstate the 
men, but the men then wanted a closed shop, and a telephone 
conversation ensued from the union office to the firm which 
secured for the men a $6.00 raise, but even then it took great 
effort to get them to return to work. 

" The leaven was also working in Kuppenheimer's trimming 
room. One noon-day a young trimmer was asked to see what 
he could do towards organizing the trimming room and at 2.80 
p. m. he brought the entire trimming force over to tlie Union 
Headquarters, about 25 boys all over 19 years, to join the 
union and they then returned to work. 

" A shop chairman in Hirsch Wickwire's shop was fired out 
one day and a stoppage occurred in the factory, and then word 
was signaled from the street to the cutting room, the cutters 
stopped like a unit and the chairman was reinstated. This was 
the first demonstration of the solidarity of an entire factory in 
the campaign." 

On March 12th, the National Tailoring Company, against 
whom a strike had been conducted for recognition and in- 
crease in wages, settled with the union, granting an increase 



ORGANIZATION OF THE MARKET 119 



of $4 a week. On March 13th, the City Tailors settled with 
the union, giving a 10% increase in addition to 15% pre- 
viously granted. The Continental Tailoring Company en- 
tered into a preferential agreement and granted a 7% in- 
crease. Still the association was maintaining a system of 
blacklisting by means of which they could discriminate 
against workers active in the organization. An application 
blank was filed for each applicant with the chief of the " La- 
bor Bureau," indicating the opinions of the applicant, what 
organizations he belonged to, what offices he had held, if any, 
and the names and addresses of his last five employers. 

On March 20th a great mass meeting to celebrate the 
organization campaign was held in Carmen's Hall. Presi- 
dent Hillman, Secretary-Treasurer Schlossberg, John Fitz- 
patrick, and others addressed this meeting. A resolution 
was there unanimously adopted authorizing the Chicago 
officers of the union to enforce collective bargaining and to 
take whatever action they deemed necessary for such enforce- 
ment. The thrill of that meeting touched even the news- 
paper reporters, one of whom described it vividly in an edi- 
torial: 

'^A rush of crowds, clamor and surge of seat hunting. 
Eagerness of spirit ♦ ♦ ♦ Middle-aged men and women, 
hstening not with attention but with passionate intentness ♦ ♦ * 
Sentences you could put your teeth into, like : ' While the 
world war was fought to make the world fit for democracy, we 
are fighting, we are organizing, and shall continue to fight and 
organize until we are 100% organized and can make the world 
a fit place and a decent place for working people to work in.' 
* * * Lavish literature everywhere — ^lavish in quantity and 
in style • • • xhe gustiness of it all caught you up and 
swirled you along * ♦ ♦ They did not ask things or plead 
for them. They crisply formulated demands." 

Towards April, the employers were beginning to show 
signs of panic. They yielded on every side. Increase fol- 
lowed increase, but still the applications for membership 
came in by the hundreds. Individual firms, like the Con- 
tinental Tailoring Company, were entering agreements with 
the union similar to the Hart, Schaffner and Marx agree- 



120 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

ments. Under the Continental Tailoring Co. agreement 
even the impartial machinery was established, with Mullen- 
bach as chairman. The Majestic Tailors and the Oxford 
Tailoring Company were by this time signed up while others 
were negotiating with the union. 

On March 26th, the strike against B. Kuppenheimer & 
Co. was won. The firm agreed to reinstate all of its work- 
ers without discrimination, to recognize the shop committee, 
and to pay the strikers for all the time they were out. In the 
meantime, the organizers were kept busy enrolling new mem- 
bers from all the shops. By the end of March agreements 
were signed with seventeen more individual firms, and Mr. 
Rosenblum reported that the southwest district situation 
was better than it had ever been before. In April, Charles 
Kaufman & Bros., Alfred Decker & Cohn, and other im- 
portant shops, sent out letters to all their employees urgmg 
them to return and made a last effort to induce them to be 
satisfied with their shop conunittee system. Organizer Glick- 
man describes the attempt made by many of the firms to m- 
augurate the shop committee as a last device to smash the 
union: 

" In order to give a correct idea of these committee systems 
I will explain what they meant in one of the houses, B. Kuppen- 
heimer & Co. The designer, the production manager, and the 
superintendent of the building called all the employees together 
on their main floor and explained to them that they wanted the 
people to elect their representatives in the shop, that they did 
not have to join the union in order to better their conditions, 
that all those who did not join the union would receive one 
week's vacation with pay and a bonus on their earnings. Three 
committees consisting of either men or women were to be elected 
on each floor. One committee was to represent all pressing sec- 
tions, one all operating sections and one all hand work sections. 
A ballot box was then produced, slips of paper distributed and 
some workers, who were loyal to the company, voted. All union 
people refrained from voting, having been previously so in- 
structed at the organization shop meetings. The company s 
representatives then took the ballot box with them, returned the 
following day, announcing the names of twelve workers who 
supposedly were elected. Among these were five good union 






*■■*-■* 

. ^ 




II 



^' 



I 



s» 






1 




ORGANIZATION OF THE MARKET 121 

men. After this, they were called to the main building where 
a conference with the highest officials of the company was held. 
Again the same promises, and as expected, the union men were 
the spokesmen for the committee, working according to instruc- 
tions given them by the union. They asked the company to 
issue all their propositions in a written form so that they might 
return to the people in the shop with something that was con- 
crete. This the company refused. Six or seven conferences 
of a similar nature were held but the company received little or 
no satisfaction. Exactly what happened in Kuppenheimer's 
shop happened in the other association houses, as they all fol- 
lowed the same program with the same unsuccessful results, 
since the union had a perfected organization in almost every 
shop in the city as well as in the district." 

It was now the beginning of the end. In the next few 
weeks more shops settled with the union. The firm of Cohn 
& Rissman secured an injunction against picketing and had 
nine strikers arrested. By the end of April three thousand 
workers were on strike for recognition. The firm of Alfred 
Decker & Cohn was completely tied up ; the strike was again 
renewed against the Kuppenheimer Company and strikes 
against many small firms were in progress. Nearly three 
hundred pickets had been arrested, but the membership grew 
so rapidly that the northwest side district was forced to move 
its offices in order to acconmiodate the increase in mem- 
bership. 

The first day of May, 1919, was a day long to be remem- 
bered. The Ashland Auditorium was secured for the cele- 
bration. Word was sent to the non-union shops, calling upon 
the workers to join in celebrating the workers' international 
holiday and to demonstrate the solidarity of the working 
class. The hour for their stoppage was set at 2:30 P. M. 
On the hour the workers left their benches in the non-union 
cutting rooms and factories and all flocked to the halls which 
were soon crowded to the doors. The " shop committee " 
plans sponsored by the employers had now definitely failed. 
In the first week of May the strike against Alfred Decker 
& Cohn was settled; the firm recognized the shop committee 
and promised to establish machinery for collective bargain- 



122 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

ing. On these terms work was resumed on Monday, May 5, 
and all the workers returned. The Cohn & Rissman strike 
was also terminated with a preferential shop agreement and 
a iSfteen per cent, increase. 

** Then came reports of this house conferring with the union 
to get their strikers hack, that house offering to sign on a cer- 
tain date, others giving indications of willingness to negotiate. 
Then that day in May, when the world never seemed so bright 
and the sky so blue, came the word that the A. C. W. of A. and 
the Wholesale Manufacturers' Association had reached an un- 
derstanding and an agreement was to be signed." 

On May 18, 1919, President Hillman was ready to present 
to the Chicago clothing workers an agreement with the 
Association, providing for a preferential union shop and 
arbitration machinery. Notices were posted in all the shops 
of the Wholesale Clothiers' Association, notifying the work- 
ers that the Association had signed up and directing them to 
meet at 3 :30 in the Carmen's Hall to vote on the agreement 
that would be there submitted to them. All the factories 
closed at 2 :30 P. M. The Hart, Schaff ner and Marx workers 
who had fought, bled and paid for this day, left their benches 
at 2 o'clock; and promptly at 2:30 the non-union factories 
opened their doors and the workers marched to the hall 
through the solid ranks of the cheering thousands of union 
men and women who had helped them in their struggle for 
emancipation. The meeting was opened by Mr. Rissman. 
After addresses by Rosenblum, Levin and a few others, 
President Hillman submitted the pact to the workers and it 
was unanimously ratified. 

At the same time negotiations were in progress between 
the union and the Wholesale Tailors' Association. The 
Cut, Make and Trim Association agreed to sign with the 
union, granting a $35 minimimi for cutters, and whatever 
the union scale was, to the tailors. This association included 
about two thousand people. On May 26, at another great 
mass meeting, the members ratified the agreement with the 
National Wholesale Tailors' Association by unanimous vote. 
This concluded the organization of the whole market. " The 



ORGANIZATION OF THE MARKET 123 

U. G. * Label Shops ' swung over at last, the Chicago cloth- 
ing cutters were industrially free, no more Medinah Temple 
with its infamous blacklist, no more cringing or begging 
favors from bullying tyrants of foremen. At last our wild- 
est dreams are brought to a realization— Chicago 100 per 
cent. Amalgamated." 




"^ ^^R MO^^^ 



"^^VR^S^ 



ROSEIV^^^ 



■'/AN SI 



to^^ 



^^HEN 5V^^^^ 



(ifiu'r.il Kxi'ciitlvi' Hoard, Amal<ra natcd Clotliiii*;- Woikcrs of Aiucrica, 11)20-1922 



PART II 



WAGES AND HOURS 



m 



CHAPTER VII 



WAGES AND HOURS, 1911-1921 

Wages of the clothing worker in Chicago at the beginning 
of 1911 were those of the unorganized and sweated worker. 
Fifteen dollars were the average earnings of the men 
workers and ten dollars the average earnings of the women 
workers for the full time week of 54 hours. These are the 
figures compiled by the United States Government from the 
payrolls of the clothing firms in 1911. 

It is interesting that the first agreement of the union with 
Hart, SchaflFner and Marx, March 13, 1911, contained as a 
concession to the union the following provision with regard 
to a minimum wage: 

** No employee shall receive less than $5.00 per week and no 
male employee above the age of 17 shall receive less than $6.00 
per week, and no male employee above the age of 18 shall receive 
less than $8.00 per week." 

The need for a minimum wage provision of this sort is 
revealed in the examination of the books of the clothing 
manufacturers in 1911 made by the Federal Government. 
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 8 
per cent, of all women workers received less than $5 a week 
and that 49 per cent, received less than $10 a week. Only 
one out of every seven women workers received as much as 
$18.50 for a 54-hour week. Among the men workers 8 per 
cent, received less than $8 a week and 40 per cent. $13 or 
less. Or in other words, these 40 per cent, were paid at the 
rate of less than 25 cents per hour. Of all the men workers 
in the tailor shops in 1911 only one in twenty (5 per cent, 
of the total) received as much as 40 cents an hour for his 
work. Among the cutters the government found that 89 



IRREGULAR PAGINATION 



128 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

out of 583 cutters then employed in the factories selected 
for investigation in Chicago in 1911 received less than 80 
cents an hour. The full earnings of these 89 cutters for 
a 48-hour week was $15 a week or less. In 1911 only 4 per 
cent, of all the cutters in the Chicago market received as 
much as 60 cents an hour. 

The same report of the United States Bureau of Labor 
Statistics on wages in Chicago showed that men basters on 
coats in 1911 earned $13.65 on the average and women 
basters $10.94 a week. Bushelers and tailors averaged 
$14.11; cutters $19.30, although a few machine cutters were 
reported earning $24.60; examiners $15.36; fitters, reported 
as the highest paid section in the tailoring department, 
$17.13; men operators on coats $17.09; women operators 
$12.07. Pressers received on the average $14.21. 

These were the average earnings when the people worked 
54 hours per week. Seasonal unemplojrment was then, as 
it is still, a very serious factor. Taking into account the loss 
of earnings during the slack season, men workers in the 
Chicago clothing industry in 1911 hardly averaged more 
than $10 or $11 per week over the entire year. Even at the 
very low prices of 1910-11 these wages bought less food, 
clothing and shelter than was necessary to maintain even a 
minimum subsistence standard of living. For many workers 
with families it was virtually a starvation wage. 

The first agreement with the union in the Chicago cloth- 
ing market took some recognition of these conditions. The 
union succeeded in securing an increase for all of the workers. 
The agreement with Hart, Schaffner and Marx read as 
follows : 

" That there shall be a uniform increase in the wages of all 
the employes engaged in the manufacture of clothing in the 
tailor shops whether by piece work or by time work of 10 per 
cent." ^ 

In the trimming department the minimum rate was fixed 
at $8 per week and an increase of 10 per cent, was also 
granted. In the woolen examining department the piece work 
rate was adjusted to give a similar 10 per cent, increase. 



WAGES AND HOURS, 1911-1921 



129 



Cutters' wages were raised 5 per cent. The agreement also 
specifically provided that in all departments persons that 
were paid by the week shall be paid time and a half for over- 
tune. The company voluntarily extended the application 
of time and a half for overtime to the piece workers at the 
same time. Not untU 1917, six years later, did workers in 
certam non-union houses in the Chicago market receive pay 
and a half for overtime. The agreement also estabhshed the 
54-hour week. 

The progress of the workers in the Chicago market, as a 
whole, in the matter of wages was very slow in the early 
years of the Chicago organization. In 1912 the government 
again examined the payrolls and reported that average wages 
of all workers had risen from $12.24 in 1911 to $12.68 in 
1912. The gain was 8 per cent. Men workers had fared 
better than the women workers. Average earnings for the 
men rose $1.50 a week, or 10 per cent, from 1911 to 1912, 
while the wages of the women workers averaged only 2 per 
cent, more in 1912 than they did in 1911. Abeady the pro- 
vision m the agreement of 1911 increasing the pay of the 
workers in Hart, Schaffner and Marx had had its eflFect 
upon the earnings of the workers generaUy, particularly the 
men workers. 

A supplemental agreement was negotiated and made ef- 
fective April 1, 1912. This agreement provided for the estab- 
lishment of a trade board with authority to fix piece work 
rates. In fixing piece work rates the board was to be guided 
by the rule: "Changed prices must correspond to the 
changed work and new prices must be based upon old prices 
where possible." The eflFect of this rule was to place the 
makmg of piece work prices on a more scientific basis and to 
prevent possible under-cutting of the wage standard in eflFect 
by a change m specifications for work done. This rule has 
been m eflFect continuously since it was first adopted in 1912 

In 1918 the first agreement with the Hart, SchaflFner and 
Marx Company was renewed. SpecificaQy, no increases in 
wages were granted. Hours of work were reduced, how- 
ever, from 54 to 52 and earnings were adjusted so that the 



180 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

worker suffered no loss by the reduction in hours. In non- 
union shops, making a similar change in hours, weekly earn- 
ings were reduced. This is indicated in the survey of the pay- 
rolls made in 1914 by the United States Bureau of Labor 
Statistics which shows a falling off in the average earnings 
per full-time week of men workers in the clothing industry 
generally. The Bureau attributes the loss in earnings to 
the reduction in the number of hours worked. 

The 1913 agreement with Hart, Schaffner and Marx, 
moreover, specifically provided that piece workers were to 
receive rate and one-half for overtime work. This had al- 
ready been the practice since 1911, but it was written into the 
agreement for the first time in 1913. Minor changes were 
also made in the minimimi wage provisions so that workers 
automatically were raised certain specified amounts after 
three months' service. 

In July, 1914, the average wages of the worker in the 
coat shop and the increases over 1911 were as follows: 



Operation. 



Average Wages 

X)erFull 

Time Week. 

1914. 



Increase 
Since 
1911. 



Basters — 

Men 

Women 

Bushelers and Tailors . . 

Cutters — 

Hand 

Machine 

Examiners 

Fitters 

Hand Sewers — 

Men 

Women 

Operators, Coat Shop — 

Men 

Women 

Pressers, Coat 



WAGES AND HOURS, 1911-1921 



131 



$14.48 
11.49 
14.67 


$0.88 
.55 
.56 


22.01 
25.22 
17.40 
18.18 


2.71 

.62 

2.04 

1.00 


18.40 
10.68 


1.46 
1.20 


18.16 
12.74 
16.59 


1.07 

.67 

2.88 



The average earnings of men workers in the men's clothing 
industry in Chicago in 1914 were $16.49 per week, or roughly 
about 10 per cent, higher than in 1911. The earnings of 
women had, however, been increased more than had the 
earnings of the men during the first three years of the life 
of the Chicago organization. In 1911 the earnings of women 
for a 54-hour week were $10 on the average. In 1914, for a 
52-hour week the average earnings were $13.69. 

Wages were, it is true, higher in 1914 than in 1911, but 
they were still far below an amount necessary to permit the 
worker and his family a proper standard of living. 

Early in 1915 a vigorous campaign of organization was 
begun in the shops not then operating under union agree- 
ment. The workers in Hart, Schaflfner and Marx were then 
the only ones organized. As a result of the campaign, the 
workers presented demands through the union to the non- 
union houses for increases in wages, betterment of working 
conditions and the recognition of the union. The manufac- 
turers refused to consider the demands of the workers and 
a long, bitter and costly strike followed. 

The strike was terminated by " shop settlements," carry- 
ing a reduction of hours in the working week. In the 
tailors-to-the-trade houses hours were reduced from 52 to 48. 
The ready-made houses followed their example in April] 
1916, and reduced hours from 52 to 50. Shortly after 
the strike was settled one of the largest tailors-to-the- 
trade firms gave a 10 per cent, increase in wages to the 
workers. The ready-made clothing firms then foUowed by 
panting a 10 per cent, increase in the form of a " bonus " 
The strike thus brought ahnost immediately increases in 
wages, although the manufacturers had " won." The spirit 
shown by the workers during the strike had forced conces- 
sions from the employers. 

At the end of the 1915 strike there was no change in the 

I^T^^4^5f?^''^''^''"y recognizing the Amalgamated, 
ine Hart, Schaffner and Marx Company continued to be 



182 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

the only firm under agreement with the organization. But 
those who worked in the non-union shops had returned to 
work after the strike %vith a new feeling of loyalty to the 
union. The beginning of a permanent organization in non- 
union shops was under way. The manufacturers recognized 
the change in the situation. For the next three years, there- 
fore, the history of wages in the Chicago market was largely 
determined by the progress made by the union in their deal- 
ings with Hart, Schaffner and Marx Company. The other 
manufacturers in the market made wage adjustments in 
1916, 1917 and 1918 only as the union gained concessions in 
dealing with the house which since 1911 had recognized the 
union. Sometimes these increases (" bonuses " as they were 
called so they could be withdrawn more readily if conditions 
warranted) were granted while negotiations between the 
union and Hart, Schaffner and Marx were in progress. It 
was the purpose of the non-imion manufacturers to anticipate 
the official increases pending in Hart, Schaffner and Marx. 
In other instances the increases immediately followed an 
agreement between the imion and that firm or a favorable 
decision by the Board of Arbitration so as to keep in check 
as much as possible disaffection and organization campaigns 
in the non-union shops. Consequently, although the union 
was recognized officially only by the Hart, Schaffner and 
Marx Company, every concession gained by the union in 
its dealings with that company immediately affected the en- 
tire market. 

The agreement of 1913 expired in the spring of 1916 and 
a new agreement with the Hart, Schaffner and Marx Com- 
pany was entered into at that time. The signing of the new 
agreement marked the five-year anniversary of the Amal- 
gamated organization in Chicago. The 1916 agreement pro- 
vided that the company should give an increase in wages 
equal in amount to 10 per cent, of the total payroll of the 
shops. The union was granted the right to distribute this 
advance according to its best judgment. This unusual re- 
sponsibility the imion accepted and it distributed the in- 



WAGES AND HOURS, 1911-1921 



183 



crease not uniformly among all workers, but in such a way 
as to grant the largest increases to those who worked in the 
poorly paid sections. The courage and wisdom of the union 
in suggesting and applying this procedure was publicly 
recognized at the time by a statement from the chairman of 
the Board of Arbitration, Mr. J. E. Williams. He then 
wrote: 

" And now I have to record what is to me the most remark- 
able feature of the whole settlement. Instead of taking the ten 
per cent, advance and applying it horizontally to all workers 
alike, the union has made the unheard of demand that it be per- 
mitted to distribute the ten per cent, in such manner as to more 
equitably compensate the poorly paid workers. That is, they 
want to give most of the benefit of the advance to those receiv- 
ing the lowest pay, so that the inferior sections may possibly 
be raised twenty per cent, while the higher paid sections may 
receive only ^ve per cent. — ^if equity requires it. 

" Consider what this means. It means that the stronger and 
more skilled workers are voluntarily denying themselves of an 
equal share in order that justice may be done their more needy 
brethren. 

" It means, too, that we have a union here so highly developed 
that it is able to devote itself to ideal aims and is strong enough 
to enforce these ideal aims on selfish and rebellious members — 
should there be any. 

" Will anyone say that a union that is able to rise to this 
height of self-discipline, is dangerous or unfit to be trusted with 
power? Will anyone pretend that such a union is incapable of 
self-control? 

The cutting and trimming departments received special 
treatment in the 1916 agreement. All cutters whose wages 
were less than $26 per week were given an increase of $1 
per week. In the trimming department all men receiving 
$15 or less per week were given increases of $2 per week; 
all men receiving over $15 per week and not exceeding $20 
per week were given increases of $1 per week. In addition 
the agreement provided for periodical increases to imderpaid 
workers to bring their wages up to higher levels. 



134 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

The following provisions in regard to the minimum wage 
were made effective by the 1916 agreement: 

The minimum wage scale in the tailor shops shall be as fol- 
lows : 

Ist 2nd 8rd 

Month. Month. Month. 

Machine operators (male and 

female) $5.00 $7.00 $9.00 

Women in hand work sections ... 5. 00 6. 00 8. 00 

Men, 18 years and over, not opera- 
tors 8.00 10.00 12.00 

AU men not included in above 8.00 9.00 10.00 

Inspector tailors (men) 16.00 .... .... 

The new agreement made in 1916 also registered an im- 
portant gain in the nimiber of hours constituting a full-time 
week. Hours of work were reduced from 52 to 49. In 
January, 1917, the company again reduced hours from 49 to 
48 and piece work rates were increased 2 per cent., again in 
order not to affect the earnings of the piece worker under the 
new schedule of hours. 

The first general increase of wages during the war period 
was made by decision of the Board of Arbitration on May 1, 
1917. This increase was granted after a hearing had been 
held under the so-called ** emergency " clause in the agree- 
ment with Hart, Schaffner and Marx. Wages of week 
workers and piece work rates in the tailor shops were in- 
creased by 10 per cent. The cutters at the same time were 
given an increase of $2.85, which amounted, roughly, to 10 
per cent, of their average earnings. 

Early in 1918 the union again brought to the attention of 
the company the demand of the workers for higher wages. 
Direct negotiations between the union and the company were 
begim which culminated in a successful agreement, effective 
May 1, 1918. The question of higher wages in this instance 



WAGES AND HOURS, 1911-1921 



135 



was not brought to the Board of Arbitration. Under the 
agreement of May 1, 1918, cutters, trimmers and week 
workers in the tailor shops were granted an increase of 
$8 per week. As in 1916 no horizontal increase for piece 
workers was made. The workers in the poorly paid sections 
were granted a 15 per cent, increase and those in the better 
paid sections a 10 per cent, increase. The average increase 
then given was 12^/^ per cent. The wage adjustment of 
1918 followed the same general principle first adopted in 
the 1916 settlement. It brought up the wage standards of 
the workers of the more poorly paid sections to a higher 
level by distributing the advance in wages so that they would 
receive proportionately greater increases than the workers in 
the better paid sections. 

The term of the agreement of 1916 was three years and 
the date of expiration was 1919. Negotiations between the 
union and the company were begun in the latter part of 1918 
and were carried to a successful conclusion on January T, 
1919. At that time the Amalgamated in New York City 
was in a state of lockout, declared by the New York manu- 
facturers in their efforts to defeat the movement for the 44- 
hour week. The new agreement with Hart, Schaffner and 
Marx established the 44-hour week and increased piece work 
rates by 8^4 per cent, so that piece workers could earn in 44 
hours as much as they had formerly earned during a 48-hour 
week. Week workers were granted an increase of $2 per 
week. The result of the agreement was a very important 
one, quite aside from its immediate effect on wages and 
hours in the Chicago market. It marked the inauguration 
of the 44-hour week in the clothing industry throughout the 
country and it seriously weakened the morale of the New 
York manufacturers who were still fighting the union on this 
issue. 

Organization work had, in the meantime, been proceeding 
slowly but effectively in the non-union shops in the Chicago 
clothing industry. Early in 1919 the workers came to the 



186 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

realization that they were now strong enough to demand 
their rights. There then followed in the non-union shops, 
from January to May, a series of shop strikes and section 
stoppages which forced concession after concession from the 
non-union employers. Increases were granted in some cases 
to sections and in other instances to whole shops. Several of 
the non-union firms were forced to grant general increases 
for all their workers of 10 per cent, in addition to increases 
already granted to individual sections. To quote but a few 
examples, on January 20, 1919, E. V. Price, a leading 
tailor-to-the-trade house, gave a 10 per cent, horizontal in- 
crease. On January 27 the Wholesale Clothiers' Associa- 
tion, composed of all of the important ready-made clothing 
firms in the city, with the exception of Hart, Schaffner and 
Marx, announced a 10 per cent, wage increase. Although it 
was stated that the increase was not to be put into eflfect until 
April 28, it was actually made effective by certain houses 
early in February. 

On March 8 fifty cutters employed by the Chicago Tailors' 
Association, after a stoppage of work caused by the dis- 
charge of an active member, won a wage increase of $9. 

On March 12 The International Tailoring Company 
locked out cutters because they organized and asked for a 
wage increase. A settlement was reached the following day 
in which an increase of $4 was granted. The week before 
the cutters had received a raise of $2. 

On March 18 City Tailors granted 10 per cent, increase 
following a previous raise of 15 per cent. 

In the Hart, Schaffner and Marx Company wages re- 
mained stable during this period. The result of these shop 
strikes was the signing of a general agreement covering all 
of the Chicago market with the exception of Hart, Schaffner 
and Marx. That firm retained its original agreement. The 
new agreement provided for wage increases as follows: 

^ All the piece work sections shall be classified by each house 
according to the average weekly earnings of each section , tak- 
ing all the workers of each section in all the shops of each 



1. Full-time Weekly Earnings or Male Workers, Tailor Shops, 1911. 
Distribution by Wage Groups — Source: U. S. Bureau of Labor 

% 

70 
60 
50 
40 
30 
ZO 
10 


f WDCR^uMIR woe* mW UIW OWtt UWW UMKR UNOtR mm UNDER lINOtR UNDER OVER 4> 

2. Full-time Weekly Earnings of Male Workers, Tailor Shops, 1919. 

Distribution by Wage Groups — Source : Impartial Chairman. 













Statistics, Bulletin 185. 










% 

70 






























60 






























V) 






























40 






























30 




























20 




























iO 

































1 




















/ 







% 

70 






























60 






























50 






























40 






























30 






























20 






























lA 
























10 




■■^^^H 



















H^H 


k 


B 


^ 


^ 



% 

70 
60 
50 
40 
30 



10 







$mt9 SAND MANO l5AIIO20AIIO?5MP3|)AND35AN040^D i5ANO50M(D 55AIID gfUMD ^AXP d; 



8. 



4. 



FuiiL-TiME Weekly Earnings of Female Woekers, Tailor Shops, 1911. 

Diftribution by Wage Groups — Source: U. S. Bureau of Labor 

Statistics, Bulletin 185. 

% 

70 




60 
50 
40 
30 
ZO 
10 




1> ..ync.S^I' n^^^ |5ANO;0ANO;3ANO30AND35ANO40ANO45AND 50ANO 55AND6rtAIID65 AND t 

f UNKR ui||K£ uNOfn ynj^ uiod umXR WOK UNPCR UNPCR UNKR UNMR llNMI ONOtt OVU 9 



Full-time Weekly Earnings of Female Workers, Tailor Shops, 1919. 
Distribution by Wage Groups — Source: Impartial Chairman. 

% 
70 

60 



50 
40 
30 
20 
10 



70 






























60 






























50 






























40 




























30 






























20 






























10 



































B 




y 


B 













$O,0..5AND|nAI»KMD2DAIOaAir3QAllD35AW4OMIO4 4 



WAGES AND HOURS, 1911-1921 



187 



house as a unit. For the purpose of this classification the 
average earnings for each complete section for the latest four 
full weeks (eliminating overtime) shall be taken. 

" To the piece rates of all sections, the average earnings in 
which are $28 or under, an increase of 20 per cent, shall be 
added. 

" To the piece rates of all sections, the average earnings in 
which are over $28.01 to $87.00, an increase of 16 ^r cent, 
shall be added. 

** To the piece work rates of all sections, the average earn- 
ings in which are over $87.01, an increase of 10 per cent, shall 

be added. 

"All week workers in tailor shops (excluding all superin- 
tendents, foremen, section heads and their assistants, and all 
learners employed less than three months in the trade) shall 
receive an increase, in addition to their wage rates, of $5.00 
per week. 

" All cutters, now receiving a wage of $81 per week or less, 
shall receive an increase of $5.00 per week, and all who are 
receiving more than $81 shall receive an increase of $4 per 

week. 

"All experienced clothing cutters (excluding apprentices), 
hired after July 8rd, shall receive a wage of $87.00 per week. 
All regular cutters, excluding apprentices, whose wages, after 
having received the increases as herein provided, shall be less 
than $87.00, shall receive a further increase of $1.00 per month 
until their wages equal $87.00 per week. 

** All trimmers in the trimming department shall receive an 
addition of $6.00 -per week to their weekly wage rates." 

In Hart, SchaflFner and Marx, the same raises were 
granted to the workers by agreement between the union and 
the firm. The wage adjustment in this house also was made 
retroactive, as in the other houses in the market, to June 1, 
1919. 

The post-armistice boom in general business was then in 
full swing. In the clothing industry, particularly, there was 
unusual activity. Retail prices for clothing were going up 
by leaps and bounds because of the heavy demand by con- 
sumers. The cost of living was rising rapidly. Under these 
circumstances, many clothing workers could have made indi- 
vidual bargains which would have been extremely favorable 
to themselves. The union, however, took the position that 



i. 



188 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 



all gains should be made by collective bargaining. It held 
that wage adjustments should be made through the imion 
and that such wage adjustments should so far as possible be 
made so as to benefit all the workers of the market and not 
only particular individuals. It accordingly took steps to 
stabilize rates of wages. During the fall season of 1919, 
the workers in the Chicago market again demonstrated their 
solidarity and their discipline by supporting the union's 
position. 

At the close of this season and before the spring manu- 
facturing season opened, the union presented to the manu- 
facturers the demand of the workers in the market for wage 
increases. The employers asked for arbitration. The pro- 
ceedings came before the Board of Arbitration under the 
" emergency " clause of the agreement. At the conclusion 
of the hearings, the Board of Arbitration awarded increases 
to become effective December 15, 1919. The details of the 
wage adjustment were as follows: 

"An increase of twenty per cent. (20%) shall be given to 
sections or occupations where the average earnings or wages 
on a forty-four hour basis are thirty dollars or less per week, 
and ^ve per cent. (5%) to sections where the average earnings 
on a forty-four hour basis are fifty dollars or more per week. 

** An increase equivalent to $6.00 per week shall be given to 
sections where the average earnings are from $80.00 to $50.00 
per week. An increase of 20% shaU be given to all week work- 
ers now receiving less than $80.00 per week; an increase of 
$6.00 per week to week workers now receiving from $30.00 to 
$49.99 per week; and an increase of 5% to week workers now 
receiving $60.00 or more per week. 

** In piece work sections, the equivalent of the increase shall 
be calculated and added to the existing piece rates." 

The chairman of the Board of Arbitration in his decision 
in this case pointed out that labor is entitled to improve its 
standards of living, and that to make increases proportionate 
only to the rise in the cost of living would defeat the workers' 
opportunity for progressive improvement. The Board also 
recognized the seasonal character of the clothing industry 



i 



WAGES AND HOURS, 1911-1921 



189 



and the greater risk imdertaken by the worker because of 
seasonal variations in emplo3rment. This risk, the chairman 
held, should be taken into account in determining wages. 

It is of interest to note in connection with the general 
award of December, 1919, that the Board of Arbitration in 
its decision followed the practice begun in 1916 by the Amal- 
gamated, of rewarding the workers in the poorly paid sec- 
tions most and giving relatively less to the others. 

In addition to the increases specifically granted in the 
Board's decision, provision was made for increasing the earn- 
ings of those groups whose earnings still remained below 
the prevailing market levels. 

A minimum wage for learners in tailoring shops was not 
fixed in the decision but was referred to a special commis- 
sion for determination. Acting on the report of this com- 
mission, the Boardj of Arbitration fixed a standard minimum 
wage for learners of $15.00 a week, eflFective April 12, 1920. 
This minimum of $15.00 a week was based in part on the 
$16.00 minimum for apprentice cutters also established by 
the Board of Arbitration on February 20, 1920. The mini- 
mum for apprentice cutters, however, had been a matter of 
discussion before the December, 1919, decision and had been 
submitted to a joint conmiittee of employers and employees 
for settlement. When this conmiittee failed to reach an 
agreement, the question was settled by the Board of Arbitra- 
tion. The minimum for apprentice cutters was made retro- 
active to become eflPective October 1, 1919, for all ap- 
prentices appointed after July 9, 1919. 

The award of December, 1919, provided for the appoint- 
ment of a commission to fix standards of production in the 
cutting rooms of the Chicago market. The chairman of the 
Board at that time indicated that, when these standards had 
been fixed, the cutters should receive a further increase in 
addition to the $6.00 a week given them in the award of 
December, 1919. A partial report of the cutters' commis- 
sion was made to the Board of Arbitration on March 2, 
1920. The group standards of production set by the com- 
mission were approved by the Board and a miniTnnni stan« 



140 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

dard wage of $45.00 fixed. But the Board in the following 
terms defined the conditions under which the increase should 
actually be paid: 

" The Board decides that these standards should be effective 
immediately on notification to the several houses. It further 
announces that beginning with Monday, March 8, the minimum 
standard for cutters will be $45.00. This same date will be 
regarded as the date for the whole Chicago industry, but no 
increase shall be actuaUy paid to the cutters of any house until 
standards have been set in that house. The reason for fixing 
this date for all houses before some of them have actually had 
standards fixed by the Commission is to avoid unfairness due to 
delay in the case of the houses visited last." 

The increase eflfective March 8, 1920, was confined largely 
to cutters employed in special order houses. In a later 
decision, October 28, 1920, the Board said in further inter- 
pretation of its decision: 

" This minimum standard of wage was intended to accom- 
pany a standard of production which would be fixed for the 
several houses by the commission. The intent of the decision, 
it ought to be unnecessary to state, was not that every cutter 
in every house should receive $45.00 irrespective of his pro- 
duction, but that every cutter (or every group of cutters where 
a group standard has been set) conforming to the standard 
set for the particular house in question should receive the 
$45.00.'* 

The clothing industry was one of the first industries to 
feel the effects of the industrial depression of 1920-1921. 
Sales of clothing began to fall off in April, 1920. Never- 
theless, the cost of living continued to rise so that by July, 
1920, the worker found himself receiving virtually 10 per 
cent, less because rates of wages had remained stationary 
while the prices of food and other necessities had increased. 
Despite the bad business outlook, the imion felt it its duty 
to present the needs of the workers first to the manufacturers 
and then to the Board of Arbitration. It was apparent, 
however, that the clothing industry had already been hard 
hit by the industrial depression. The Board of Arbitration 
therefore ruled that no increase of wages would be justified 



5. Full-time Weekly Earnings of Cuttees, 1911. 

Distribution by Wage Groups — Source: U. S. Bureau of Labor 

Statistics, Bulletin 185. 

% 




6. Full-time Weekly Eaenings of Cutters, 1919. 
Distribution by Wage Groups— Source : Impartial Chairman. 




▼ UROK UNKR IMDCR UNOtt MK ma mOU WKX UHOtt llWtt UWtt^oeR (HfER ^ 



7. Full-time Weekly Eabnings of All Workers in Tailor 

Shops, and Cutters, Combined, 1911. 

Distribution by Wage Groups — Source: U. S. Bureau of Labor 

Statistics, Bulletin 185. 

% 




8. Full-time Weekly Earnings of All Workers in Tailor 
Shops, and Cutters, Combined, 1919. 

Distribution by Wage Groups— Source : Impartial Chairman. 

%l 




^•"' ^ w^?S^^SS?^SSB%^$ 



WAGES AND HOURS, 1911-1921 



141 



at that time (August, 1920). It ordered, however, the 
appointment of a commission to study the problem of unem- 
ployment in the industry. 

Conditions in industry generally during 1920 became 
progressively worse. Industries, one by one, were aflFected 
by the general depression in industry and by the economic 
collapse of Europe. The slowing down of industry was im- 
mediately accompanied by sharp wage cuts in unorganized 
industries. Of all the industries, clothing and textiles had 
been hit first and hardest. The employers took advantage of 
lack of organization among the workers in the textile in- 
dustries and reduced wages 22% per cent. In the Chicago 
clothing market, manufacturers presented a demand to the 
union for a reduction of 25 per cent. On the union's objec- 
tion, the case went to the Board of Arbitration for decision. 
A preliminary conference was held early in March and pub- 
lic hearings on March 23 and 24. On April 16, 1921, the 
decision was announced. It provided that workers in tailor- 
ing sections, who had been increased in December, 1919, by 
approximately 20 per cent, should suffer a reduction of 10 
per cent, and that those workers who had received a 5 per 
cent, increase in December, 1919, should be reduced by the 
same amount, namely 5 per cent. 

By the decision of the chairman of the Board of Arbitra- 
tion the workers in the more poorly paid sections suffered 
the largest reductions. In this respect it reversed the prac- 
tice first begun in 1916 of giving greater advances to the 
lower paid workers than to the higher paid workers. The 
chairman, however, held that since the workers in the higher 
sections had received only a 5 per cent, increase in Decem- 
ber, 1919, that a larger cut in the wages of these workers 
would bring their wages below the standard arrived at by 
agreement between the manufacturers and the union. Ad 
arbitrator, the chairman held, was not justified in reducing 
wages below the level agreed upon in joint negotiation. 

The decision also held that no reduction should be made in 
the wages of the cutters. The chairman, in fact, stated 
that the average cutter should receive $45.00 a week. Cut- 



142 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

ters were classified into five groups with wages ranging from 
$41.00 to $49.00 a week. Inclusion in a higher or lower 
wage class was made dependent on output. The adminis- 
tration of this part of the decision was entrusted to a cut- 
ters commission, composed of representatives of both parties 
working under the direction of the Chairman of the Board of 
Arbitration. 

This brief review of wages has necessarily included only 
general wage adjustments aflFecting the whole market. Data 
we not available relating to changes in individual sections. 
It IS possible, however, to measure the earnings in 1920 of 
the clothing workers of Chicago. The following table, 
taken from figures submitted by the employers in the arbi- 
tration proceedings of March, 1921, shows, for the larger 
houses of the city, the average earnings of men and women 
m a 44-hour week of uninterrupted employment in the sum- 
mer of 1920: 

AvEEAGE Weekly Wages, 1920. 



, '_ Male. Female. 

^T" t $"-50 $87.48 

, " 47.79 84.28 

„ t^ 47.79 88.84 

„ " 49.72 84.85 

„ ^ «2.78 44.25 

a p S7.98 40.78 

„ „ 49.28 86.45 

" 68.64 41.12 

Differences that appear in average wages in the various 
houses do not entirely reflect differences in the earning power 
of the piece-work rates. Earnings of piece-workers may and 
do vary considerably because of interruptions in the flow 
of work and differences in standards of quality. 

The figures submitted by the manufacturers present a 
picture of wage conditions in 1920. It takes only a com- 
panson of these figures with the statistics compiled by the 



WAGES AND HOURS, 1911-1921 



143 



government in 1911 to show the gains made by the workers 
since they organized eleven years ago: 

Average Weekly Earnings, 1911 and 1920. 



Full Time 

Weekly 

Earnings. 



Men Workers — 

1911 

1920 

Women Workers — 

1911 

1920 



$14.64! 
48.44 



$10.10 
34.31 



Hours Per 
Full Time 
Week. 



54 

44 



54 
44 



Of course, the value of a dollar in 1911, measured in the 
amount of food and other necessities which it could pur- 
chase, was much greater than in 1920. Nevertheless, making 
all allowances for changes in prices it is clear that the gain 
in wages achieved largely through organization of the 
workers has been a substantial one. The wage of the cloth- 
ing worker is no longer barely enough to keep body and soul 
together as it was when the union came into being. To-day, 
the clothing worker does not have to depend upon charity 
during the slack season as did many in; the years before 1911. 
The organized Chicago clothing worker has won much for 
himself, his family and his fellows. 

Remarkable as has been the progress of the clothing 
worker since he has organized, it has not been progress of 
the worker at the expense of the industry. The percentage 
of labor cost in the garment to-day is not greater than it was 
in, 1915. In fact, much of the advance in wages has resulted 
from the greater efficiency of the market. The Chicago 
clothing industry to-day is as far ahead of the industry in 
1910-1911 as are the wages of the worker to-day ahead of 
the wages of the unorganized worker of 1910. The good 
will and efficiency of the workers have contributed in full 
measure to this progress. 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE GREAT WAGE ARBITRATIONS 

In recent years, as the impartial machinery has become 
more firmly established and has been extended to include the 
entire Chicago clothing market, almost all of the changes in 
general market wage levels have been made by decision of 
the Board of Arbitration. The settlement of the problems 
of market wage levels by arbitration decision has not done 
away with the process of direct negotiation between the miion 
representatives and the representatives of the manufac- 
turers. In the arbitration of wages in the Chicago market 
there has always been adequate interchange of views be- 
tween the two parties concerned before, during, and after 
the public hearing. 

Wage arbitrations and particularly the public hearings 
held as a part of the proceedings have played a very prom- 
inent part in the history of wages in the Chicago clothing 
market. The method of determining wage levels for the 
market after hearing, discussion and by arbitration decision 
has been an important factor in building up the collective 
bargaining process and securing stability in wage levels. 
Under this plan wage levels have been adjusted not for the 
workers in a single section or even for an individual shop but 
for the market as a whole and with some regard for the inter- 
relation of markets. 

Wage arbitration has also tended to lessen change in levels 
arising from shifting of the bargaining power of the parties 
during a manufacturing season. In a seasonal industry such 
considerations are peculiarly important. The procedure of 
wage arbitrations developed in Chicago has placed emphasis 
on the permanent factors rather than seasonal influences 
affecting the wage problem and has thus placed a firmer 
foundation under the wage structure of the market. In this 



THE GREAT WAGE ARBITRATIONS 145 

way the great wage arbitrations have helped to give the 
stability sought for by the union. 

From another standpoint wage arbitrations in the Chicago 
market are important. The Board of Arbitration has de- 
rived its authority to fix wages from the so-called " emer- 
gency clause " of the agreement. This clause reads as fol- 
lows: 

"If there shall be a general change in wages or hours in the 
clothing industry, which shall be sufficiently permanent to 
warrant the belief that the change is not temporary, then the 
Board shall have power to determine whether such change is of 
so extraordinary a nature as to justify a consideration of the 
question of making a change in the present agreement, and, if 
so, then the Board shall have power to make such changes in 
wages or hours as in its judgment shall be proper." 

Wages having been usually fixed by direct negotiation 
when the agreements are entered into, the Board may be said 
to be called upon, in a sense, to determine what changes are 
" proper." In the absence of a generally agreed upon stand- 
ard of " proper " wages, the several proceedings in Chicago 
illustrate the limitations which the Chairman of the Board of 
Arbitration have themselves placed upon their own authority 
to fix wages. 

The Board of Arbitration, set up under the agreement 
between the union and the manufacturers in Chicago, func- 
tions continuously during the life of the agreement. More- 
over, although the Hart, SchaflFner and Marx Company has 
a separate agreement and separately constituted impartial 
arbitration^ machinery, the personnel of the Board of Arbi- 
tration of the Hart, Schaffner and Marx agreement and of 
the general market is the same. In the wage arbitrations be- 
ginning with December, 1919, all manufacturers have been 
represented and a single proceeding has been held for the 
whole market. The permanent character of the Board of 
Arbitration has permitted the appointment of special com- 
missions to report on questions raised in wage arbitrations 
which require detailed study for later decision by the Board 
without delaying an inunediate decision on other issues. 
Commissions have also been appointed to work out the de- 



146 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

tailed application of wage awards, when that procedure has 
been necessary to carry out the fuU intent of the Board's 
decisions. These commissions are usually composed of rep- 
resentatives of the employers and of the union and an im- 
partial chairman. They have contributed much to the suc- 
cess of wage arbitration in the market. 

These public discussions of wages, moreover, have had an 
important educational value. Workers have learned much 
about their industry and about industrial conditions gen- 
erally. They have become aware of the individual working- 
man's position in the market, and of the relation of the 
Chicago market to the whole clothing industry of the 
country. Manufacturers, likewise, have seen the plane of 
wage controversies raised to new levels, where facts counted 
more than fancy. And the public has been granted an in- 
sight into the operations of a typical industry, which has 
proved invaluable as a basis for forming sound judgments 
on the character of industrial conflicts. 

Strictly speaking, the arbitration method was resorted to 
in the determination of wages in 1911 when the first agree- 
ment was signed in the Chicago market, and again in 1918 in 
settling certain questions involving major working condi- 
tions. But it was not until 1917 that a request for a general 
increase in wages was submitted to the regularly established 
Board of Arbitration, and it has only been since the general 
agreement, including all manufacturers of men's clothing in 
the Chicago market, was signed in May, 1919, that wage 
arbitration has been the regular practice in the market. 

In the arbitration of wages in 1917 the only workers 
affected directly were those of Hart, Schaffner and Marx, 
which alone at that time recognized and dealt with the Amal- 
gamated. It will be recalled that in May, 1916, the union 
secured an increase when the agreement with the Hart, 
Schaffner and Marx Company for a three-year period ending 
April 30, 1919, became effective. Because of the continued 
rise in the cost of living the union raised the question of a 
general wage increase shortly after the beginning of the fall 
manufacturing season of 1917. The union asked for a gen- 



THE GREAT WAGE ARBITRATIONS 147 

eral advance in the wage level to make up for the loss result- 
ing from higher prices for the necessaries of life. Higher 
wages were also asked because there had already occurred 
wage increases in the clothing industry and in other in- 
dustries. 

The company, while admitting that the cost of living had 
risen since the wage adjustment made by the 1916 agree- 
ment, contended that the average earnings of the workers, 
particularly of piece workers, had in fact increased from 30 
to 35 per cent. The company pointed out that as a result 
of the greater volume of employment earnings had risen 
though wage levels had remained constant. It held, also, 
that to grant a wage increase after the prices of the fall 
season had been fixed and sales had been made on the basis 
of these prices would be unfair. The company would lose 
the entire amount of the increase granted the workers as 
sales had already been made, and it would have no opportun- 
ity to pass the increased burden of higher wages on to the 
consumers. Properly the company maintained increased 
wages should be added to the cost of the goods and should not 
come out of the company's margin between the cost of pro- 
duction and selling price. 

The Board of Arbitration ruled that the workers had 
already suffered heavily in the diminished purchasing power 
of their wages. While admitting, in principle, the employ- 
ers' claims, it held that the emergency was such that an im- 
mediate increase in wages was warranted. The Board of 
Arbitration awarded to the workers a general advance in 
wages. The wages of all workers, except cutters, were in- 
creased by 10 per cent. The wages of the cutters were in- 
creased a fixed amount — $2.35 per week — ^which was ap- 
proximately 10 per cent, of the average weekly earnings of 
the cutters at that time. 

The Board further ruled that any request for wage ad- 
justments during the term of the agreement must be made in 
advance of sales for the season affected. Thus the Board 
recognized the contention of the employer that he should 
have the opportunity to pass wage adjustments on to the 









148 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

consumers. The opinion of the Board of Arbitration in this 
ease, given June 2, 1917, is as follows: 

The claims of the workers were explained to the Board by 
Mr. Sidney Hilhnan, international president of the Amalga- 
mated Clothing Workers of America. He stated that the ap- 
plication was made primarily because of the enormously in- 
creased cost of Hving which had so diminished the purchasing 
power of money that it was virtually equivalent to a reduction 
m wages. He stated also that in response to this condition 
wages had been generally advanced in the clothing industry, 
that so far as human foresight could perceive the condition 
was a permanent one, and that the extraordinary situation 
which existed fuUy met the requirements of the provision of the 
agreement under which application for a readjustment of wages 
was brought. He made no specific demand, nor did he expect 
a full equivalent for the losses sustained by the workers by 
reason of war prices and conditions, but he maintained that a 
measure of relief should be granted, and the workers should 
not be required to bear all the burden of a common calamity. 

"The company, through its representatives, acknowledged 
the claim of increased cost of living but called attention to the 
fact that since 1915 the average earnings of the people had 
increased from thirty to thirty-five per cent., due to the fuUer 
employment brought about by a larger volume of business. 

More important, however, was the fact that the goods in 
the process of manufacture for the fall season were already sold 
at prices that were agreed on before the present claim was 
made, and this fact should be taken into consideration by the 
arbitrators in adjudicating the case. 

" The Board of Arbitration approaches the decision of the 
question submitted to it with a deep sense pf responsibility. 
The cause of our common distress is a national calamity which 
it IS not in the power of the Board to remove or ameliorate. 
All that it has power to do is to readjust the burden so that it 
may not fall too heavily on the weaker party. 

" It admits the truth of the claim that any advance granted 
in mid-season must come out of the company, and it recognizes 
the fact that ordinarily, increased wages should be added to 
the cost of the goods, and passed on to the consumer. But this 
is an extraordinary occasion. The workers have already suf- 
fered heavily in the diminished purchasing power of their wages 
and throughout the clothing and other industries wage increases 
have been made in response to the war prices which afflict the 
country. The Board believes that, on reflection, the companv 





Leo Krzycki 



Nettie Richardson 





Jack Kroll 



Emilio Grandinetti 



National Organizers, Chicago Campaign, 1919 



148 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

consumers. The opinion of the Board of Arbitration in this 
ease, given June 2, 1917, is as follows: 

The claims of the workers were explained to the Board by 
Mr. Sidney Hillman, international president of the Amalga- 
mated Clothing Workers of America. He stated that the ap- 
plication was made primarily because of the enormously in- 
creased cost of living which had so diminished the purchasing 
power of money that it was virtually equivalent to a reduction 
in wages. He stated also that in response to this condition 
wages had been generally advanced in the clothing industry, 
that so far as human foresight could perceive the condition 
was a permanent one, and that the extraordinary situation 
which existed fully met the requirements of the provision of the 
agreement under which application for a readjustment of wages 
was brought. He made no specific demand, nor did he expect 
a full equivalent for the losses sustained by the workers by 
reason of war prices and conditions, but he maintained that a 
measure of relief should be granted, and the workers should 
not be required to bear all the burden of a common calamity. 

"The company, through its representatives, acknowledged 
the claim of increased cost of living but called attention to the 
fact that since 1915 the average earnings of the people had 
increased from thirty to thirty-five per cent., due to the fuller 
employment brought about by a larger volume of business. 

More important, however, was the fact that the goods in 
the process of manufacture for the fall season were already sold 
at prices that were agreed on before the present claim was 
made, and this fact should be taken into consideration by the 
arbitrators in adjudicating the case. 

" The Board of Arbitration approaches the decision of the 
question submitted to it with a deep sense of responsibilitv. 
The cause of our common distress is a national calamity which 
it IS not m the power of the Board to remove or ameliorate. 
All that it has power to do is to readjust the burden so that it 
may not fall too heavily on the weaker party. 

" It admits the truth of the claim that any advance granted 
m mid-season must come out of the companv, and it recognizes 
the fact that ordinarily, increased wages should be added to 
the cost of the goods, and passed on to the consumer. But this 
is an extraordinary occasion. The workers have already suf- 
fered heavily in the diminished purchasing power of their wages 
and throughout the clothing and other industries wage increases 
have been made in response to the war prices which afflict the 
country. The Board believes that, on reflection, the companv 








^ 



Leo Krzycki 



Nettie Uicluirdson 





Jack Kroll 



Eniilio Grandinetti 



National Organizers, Chicago Cain})aigii, 1919 



THE GREAT WAGE ARBITRATIONS 149 

can hardly expect to pass through the present war crisis and 
not share a part of the loss which falls so heavily on its work- 
ers, and, indeed, on all members of the community. It accord- 
ingly decides that the company shall give its workers a general 
advance of ten per cent, to be paid in the following manner : 

" All workers under the jurisdiction of this Board, except the 
cutters, shall receive a horizontal advance in wages of ten per 
cent., to take effect July 1, 1917. 

" The cutters shall receive an equivalent of ten per cent, con- 
verted into a uniform flat weekly increase, which is agreed to 
be $2.85 per week for each cutter, whether temporary or per- 
manent, and also apprentices. In view of the fact that other 
departments have received more direct advances of wages than 
the cutters, it is decided that the cutters' increase shall go into 
effect June 1, 1917. 

" It is decided that these increases shall be recorded separate- 
ly by the company ; that it shall take the place of the increase 
of pay asked for on behalf of the week workers in the tailor 
shops; and in the event of any other claim being made under 
the emergency clause of the agreement, that such claims must 
be made in advance of sales for the affected season being made 
by the company in order to be entitled to recognition by th<* 
Board of Arbitration. 

" In the case of week-workers, the increase shall be calcu- 
lated from the payroll of the last week in May, 1917." 



FIRST MARKET WAGE ARBITRATION, DECEMBER, 1919 

The first wage arbitration covering the whole Chicago 
market was held in December, 1919. All the firms in the 
market mider agreement with the Amalgamated Clothing 
Workers participated. The case was filed on December 9th, 
a formal hearing was held on December 13th and decision 
was made on the 22d of the same month. 

The union presented as reasons for a wage increase: 

1. The increased cost of living. 

2. The need for improvement in standards of living. 

8. The great demand for labor in this industry which would 
have permitted greatly increased wages by bargains made by 
individual workers had not the union stabilized and moderated 
rates of wages during the previous manufacturing season. 

4. The increases of wages already granted workers in the 
men's clothing industry in other cities. 



150 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

5. The increased efficiency of the industry resulting from 
constant production not interrupted by strikes or other indus- 
trial disturbances. Costs had been reduced by eliminating the 
waste resulting from such disturbances. The union had also 
made an important social contribution in maintaining order and 
peace in industry in the midst of greatly disturbed conditions 
in the labor world. It hel^ that the policy pursued by the 
umon should properly be considered in the fixing of wages. 

6. The efficiency which the Chicago market derives from 
being a piece work market. 

The union in Chicago had brought the matter of increased 
wages to the Board of Arbitration after increases had already 
been granted in the principal clothing markets of the country 
through negotiation. The union, therefore, in this instance 
primarily rested its case upon the increase in the cost of liv- 
ing since May, 1919, and the increase of wages granted in 
the other markets. At the same time, however, the union 
raised a number of new points to which it directed attention. 

It should be recalled that at this time prices of all com- 
modities were rising rapidly. Charges of profiteering were 
frequent m all industries. Many of these charges were 
directed against the men's clothing industry. In many in- 
stances, not alone in the clothing industry but in other in- 
dustries as well, high prices were attributed to profiteering 
by labor. The union, therefore, welcomed the opportunity 
afforded by the public hearing to bring to the attention of the 
public the significant facts as they were in the clothing 
industry. 

The union told of the policy it had made effective in the 
Chicago clothing industry of stabilizing and moderating 
rates of wages during the fall manufacturing season of 1919 
when there was an extraordinary demand for workers. Dur- 
ing that season it had not permitted workers to secure ad- 
vances which, because of the circumstances then prevailing, 
they would have been able to secure by individual bargaining! 
The union prevented the individual worker from holding up 
production by asking for a wage increase, and insisted that 
all increases and improvements in working conditions should 
be made by collective bargaining. Market conditions were 



THE GREAT WAGE ARBITRATIONS 151 

thus stabilized. The union had consistently held to this 
policy at a time when prices were rising in all lines of trade, 
including clothing, and when the margins of manufacturers 
and retailers were increasing rapidly. This policy of stabiliz- 
ing wage conditions did much for the principle of collective 
bargaining in the Chicago market and set a firm foundation 
for the impartial machinery, then only beginning its work. 

Moreover, the union pointed out that the increased effi- 
ciency of the clothing industry and of the Chicago market, in 
particular resulting from the policy adopted and carried out 
by the union, justified an increase in wages. The policy of 
the union for order and peace in the industry had been of 
great value. It had maintained constant production. It had 
stabilized market conditions. It had developed good-will 
and a sense of responsibility on the part of the workers. All 
of these factors had tended to reduce costs in a period when 
other costs and prices were being pyramided sky high. The 
worker, the union contended, had made this contribution to 
the efficiency of the industry and was entitled to share in the 
savings which had resulted therefrom. 

The extension of piece work in Chicago had also put this 
market in a position to pay its workers certainly as much as 
they were being paid in less efficient markets. Finally, the 
union pointed out that the workers in the industry are 
entitled to a progressive improvement in their standard of 
living, provided the industry could afford to meet such 
standards. 

The position of the employers, on the other hand, was that 
the Board of Arbitration should not at that time allow wage 
increases because: 

1. Increases in wages in the industry had more than kept 
pace with increased cost of living. 

2. Whatever may have been true of the demand for labor 
and the consequent market rate of wages, there was at that 
time a paramount duty to the public not to increase the cost 
of necessaries of life unless there was a real exigency, which 
in this case did not exist. 

8. Employes in this industry were in a highly favorable 
condition as compared with those in other industries, both 



►■I 




(I 



152 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

t^r.i.T'^ ^"""""h ""^r '^ ^^^ ''^^^'^ ^^*t only about one- 
third of those employed were heads of families. 

4. Since deflation was bound to come sooner or later everv 
increase which adds to costs has a tendency in the wronJdTrec^ 
tion, and wiU make the inevitable shrinkag^ more keenly^dt 

5. The indirect effects on prices and industry of any in- 
crease in wages at this time ought to be considered ^ 

b. Local conditions in the Chicago market/both within the 
industry and in the relation of this to other indulTfs Lde 
any change undesirable from the point of view of the best iXr! 
rll::l'l^^^^ -'^ -^^^ -"^ o^ the Arms had just 

The Board of Arbitration asked for and secured from both 
the manufacturers and the union statistics showing compara- 
tive earmngs for the full time 44.hour week in Chicago and 

ioiQ K^ '' T^^ ^''^'^^'^^ ^^""^^^ i'^ the market since 
1913; changes m the cost of living as reported by govern- 
ment agencies; age and marital condition of workers with 
special reference to the number of their dependents; and 
comparisons of wages in clothing with other Chicago in- 
dustries. In this arbitration proceeding for the first time, 
studies of earmngs and wage rates in the Chicago and other 
clothmg markets were made. The collection of these valu- 
able data was itself a large contribution to the knowledge of 
wages and working conditions in one of the important organ- 
ized industries of the country. 

The decision of the arbitrator, Prof. James H. Tufts, is 
of particular sigmficance for its penetrating analysis of the 
issues presented by both employers and employees. There 
had been mcreases granted in competing markets. There 

It \^'''!^ ^Z^"" '""ii' "^'* ^^ "^^'^^ '^'^ the agreement 
was signed m May. The arbitrator might have based his 

decision for an increase solely on these two points. He 
seized the opportunity, however, to discuss certain of the 
underlying imphcations in the wage problem and to bring to 
the attention of the industry and the public in very illuminat- 
ing fashion the conditions in the clothing industry under the 
agreement as they affected the worker, the industry, and the 
consumer. ^ 



THE GREAT WAGE ARBITRATIONS 153 

It was the arbitrator's opinion that the main question in- 
volved was whether a group of workers should be permitted 
under the agreement between the employes and the manu- 
facturers to avail itself of its bargaining strength for the 
purpose of securing progressive improvements in its standard 
of living. To this question the chairman made the following 
answer: 

** In answering this question, the Board believes that it must 
be governed largely, although not exclusively, by the prevailing 
principles and policies of the country as embodied in its insti- 
tutions. In endeavoring to give a just decision, the Board 
does not feel warranted in setting up a standard too widely at 
variance with our present social and economic order. 

** The principles and policies of the United States are, with 
certain qualifications, those of individualism, or the competitive 
system. This means that prices, wages and profits are fixed 
by bargaining under the forces of supply and demand. This 
general principle is qualified and limited in the case of * property 
affected with a public interest,' such as railways. In private, 
as distinguished from public or semi-public business and in- 
dustry, there is a moral disapproval on the one hand for such 
extremely low wages as make a decent standard of living impos- 
sible, and, on the other hand, for extreme increases in the 
prices of necessaries of life, but there is no general disapproval 
of the general principle of profiting by market conditions. In 
time of national emergency, we used the word ' profiteer ' to 
condemn taking advantage of the country's need for an un- 
reasonable private gain. But in ordinary time, there is as yet 
no recognized standard for the fairness of prices of various 
goods, or for relative wages in different industries, other than 
what bargainers agree upon. This method may often fail to 
give justice as measured by various other standards of merit 
or desert. But for the most part, labor has had to bargain 
for its wages, and it cannot be expected to forego entirely the 
advantages which market conditions now afford. 

** Coming, then, to the specific concrete situation which con- 
fronts us, we have the outstanding fact that very substantial 
increases to clothing workers have been granted in all the other 
principal markets in this country and Canada, and in many 
less important centers. These increases have usually been five 
or six dollars a week ; in some cases, they have been more. In 
these days when both employers and workers know of such 
increases and plan accordingly, it is not practicable to treat 



i > 



! , 



154 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

the Chicago market as an entirely distinct situation to be judged 
on its own merits, without reference to what is going on else- 
where in the country." 

The Board ako pointed out that it would be unfair to 
adopt the position taken by the employers and regulate only 
the use of bargaining power by labor. To adopt such an 
attitude would be in effect, to regulate labor and let capital, 
management and retailers take advantage of market condi- 
tions without any restraint. Such actions would be tanta- 
mount to setting up a moral standard for labor alone and 
none for management or capital. 

" It may be said,*' wrote Chairman Tufts, " in the first place, 
that if there is to be public regulation of any industry or moral 
judgment upon wages or prices, this should apply to every 
stage in the production and marketing; it applies to profits as 
well as to labor. It must consider not merely figures as to 
prices and wages, but the actual efficiency or wastefulness of the 
methods of production and marketing." 

Moreover, if the bargaining power of labor alone were 
controlled it is doubtful whether the consuming public for 
whose benefit the control was presiuned to be exercised, 
would receive the advantage from such control. For the 
" prices of clothing," the decision held, " have advanced and 
are certain to be further advanced whatever may be the 
decision of this case." Prices did advance. The Board rec- 
ognized the competitive nature of the clothing industry and 
the fact that prices were not fixed for the Chicago market 
alone but for the entire industry and that the increase in 
the labor cost in the manufacture of clothing would mean 
only a relatively small increase in the total cost when sold 

at retail. 

After disposing of the main question. Professor Tufts 
took occasion to discuss two other important aspects of the 
wage problem in the men's clothing industry. In the first 
place, he said, the seasonal character of the clothing industry, 
in which there is no guarantee against unemployment, must 
be taken into account. In such an industry there must be 
the same recognition of the principle that greater risk en- 



THE GREAT WAGE ARBITRATIONS 155 

titles the worker to higher wages just as it is generally con- 
ceded that capital is entitled to greater profits m an industry 
where the risk is greater than in an industry where capital is 
secure and its returns stable. .j j 

In the second place, the Board of Arbitration considered 
itself under obUgation to reward the contribution of the 
union in its insistence on wage stabilization. This pohcy has 
resulted in continuous production and peace and order m the 
industry. " The industry," said Chairman Tufts, as now 
organized under agreements which aim to substitute reason 
for force, is performing an unportant pubUc service. i ins 
public service, the Board held, must be considered m fixmg 

wages. 

The specific terms of the award were : 

« Beginning December 15, 1919, an increase shaU be added 
to the piece-and wage-rates now in existence under the agree- 
ments, in the shops of the firms and their contractors. The 
new rates thus established shall prevail up to June Ist, 1920, 
except when detailed changes may be ordered by the Board of 
Arbitration on recommendation of either of the Trade Boards. 

" The increase shall be applied as follows : 

"An increase of twenty per cent. (20%) shall be given to 
sections or occupations where the average earnings or wages 
on a forty-four hour basis are thirty dollars or less per week, 
and five per cent. (5%) to sections where the average earmngs 
on a forty-four hour basis are fifty dollars or more per week. 
An increase equivalent to $6.00 per week shall be given to sec- 
tions where the average earnings are from $d0.00 to $*y.y» 

^" An increase of 20% shall be given to all week workers now 
receiving less than $30.00 per week; an increase of $6.00 per 
week to week workers now receiving $50.00 or more per week. 

" In piece work sections, the equivalent of the increase shall 
be calculated and added to the existing piece rates." 

In addition to the specific increases above granted, the 
Board ruled it was its purpose to bring the earnings of 
underpaid sections up to the market level and that it would 
grant further increases to such sections. A commission 
known as the " Leveling Commission " was created. This 







156 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

commission was authorized to investigate relative disparities 
in rates now existing in the market, and to make recommen- 
dations for increases to sections earning less than the market 
level. This recommendation fixed market norms for many of 
the operations. The work was completed March 15, 1920. 
It was the intent of the commission to fix piece work rates 
that would yield to the worker equal earnings for equal effort 
and skiU. The work of the " Leveling Conmiission,** there- 
fore, resulted in a large mieasure of wage standardization. 

Another commission was created under the chairmanship 
of Dr. MiUis, with equal representation of employers and 
workers, to determine standards of production for cutters 
and to make reconunendations for a standard wage for these 
workers. Group standards of production for cutters and 
a scale of $45, to become effective when the group standards 
were made effective, was recommended by the commission 
and approved by the Board of Arbitration in March, 1920. 

The award did not fix a minimum wage for inexperienced 
workers in the tailor shops. It, however, provided for a 
commission to go into the matter more fully and make a 
report to the Board of Arbitration. In March, 1920, the 
Board approved the recommendation of the commission 
that a minimum wage of $15.00 per week be paid to learners 
" employed less than three months in the trade." A minimum 
wage for workers in the cutting and trimming rooms was 
already in effect. 

AN UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE FUND 

Early in 1920 the union turned its attention to the prob- 
lem of imemploymient. At that time industry, generally, in 
the United States was operating at capacity. The clothing 
industry, although generally regarded as a seasonal industry 
under ordinary conditions, had been active continuously 
without seasonal lulls for several years. In the early months 
of 1920 there were no signs of an interruption in the indus- 
trial activity of the country. The union officials realized, 
however, that it is just at such a time that preparations 
must be made to meet the problem of unemployment which 



THE GREAT WAGE ARBITRATIONS 157 

had recurred in the past from time to time and which would 
undoubtedly recur in the future. In previous years the 
clothing worker had been subject to more or less regular 
periods of unemployment every year because of seasonal 
fluctuations that affected the men's clothing industry alone, 
and to longer but less regular periods of unemployment 
arising from general industrial depressions. The union 
therefore, early in 1920, undertook to present a plan for 
the solution of this most important problem. At the biennial 
convention of the Amalgamated in May, 1920, a resolution 
which stated the union's position in the following terms was 
adopted: 

" Justice dictates that the industry, which depends upon the 
workers to keep alive, should take care of them when they are 

unemployed. 

" That can be done only by the creation of a special fund for 
the payment of unemployment wages ; no gift and no alms, but 
wages from the industry to the worker. There is no reason 
why the industry, which pays a permanent tax to the various 
insurance companies in order to indemnify the employer in case 
of an emergency, should not likewise have a permanent fund 
for indemnification for lack of work. The welfare of the work- 
ers in the industry should be entitled to at least as much con- 
sideration as the property of the employer. 

" The Committee, therefore, recommends that the convention 
go on record in favor of the creation of an unemployment fund. 
It is our opinion that such a fund should be created by the 
weekly payment by the employers of a given percentage of the 
payroll of our members, which shall not be deducted from the 
payroll but paid into the fund in addition to the payroll." 

This resolution empowered the general executive board 
to work out methods for the administration of such a fund 
and authorized the executive board to take such steps as 
it thought necessary to bring this matter to the attention of v 

the industry. 

At the close of the spring manufacturing season of 1920 
there was a sharp falling off in the sales of clothing at retail. 
The result was an almost immediate curtailment of activity 
in the men's clothing industry. Workers in the Chicago 
market, particularly those paid on a piece basis, had much 



158 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

less work. Though wage rates remained the same, the earn- 
ings of workers were necessarily greatly lessened. On the 
other hand, the cost of living was still rising and continued 
to rise until by late spring it was fully ten per cent, higher 
than in December, 1919. The Chicago clothing workers 
were faced with the problem of making both ends meet when 
their earnings were falling and prices rising. 

The union therefore presented to the Board of Arbitration 
the request of its membership for relief. The union asked 
for an increase in wages to compensate the workers for the 
loss in the purchasing power of their wages resulting from 
the rise in prices, and for the establishment of an unemploy- 
ment insurance fund, as had been urged by the biennial 
convention in May. Emphasis in the arbitration proceed- 
ings that followed was placed upon the second proposal, 
namely, that providing for an unemployment fund. Hear- 
ings were held before the Board of Arbitration on July 1st 
and 2nd. At these hearings the union presented a compre- 
hensive brief reviewing the whole problem of unemployment 
in the men's clothing industry. The union supported its 
demand for a fund by an analysis of the rights of the work- 
ers and of the manner in which such a fund would reduce 
the volume of unemployment. 

1. Unemployment is beyond the control of the workers. It 
is due in large measure to conditions under which the industry 
is carried on. Its cost is therefore properly chargeable against 
industry just as any other element in the cost of production. 
The cost of unemployment compensation is comparable in kind 
to such other elements in costs as wages, maintenance expense 
for plant and machinery and costs incurred for industrial acci- 
dents. 

2. The cost of unemployment must be met from a fund, 
established and supported by the industry and segregated for 
the purpose of meeting that cost alone. In this way, only, can 
the burden of the cost be sufficiently felt by those who are in a 
position to take steps to reduce it. It is a cardinal principle in 
social insurance that specific allocation of the responsibility and 
burden is an indispensable first step in the eradication of the 
evil. 



THE GREAT WAGE ARBITRATIONS 159 

The argument of the union was similar to that made 
by Mr. Bevin of the English dockers before the British 
court of inquiry into the wages and conditions of dock 
labor. Mr. Bevin, in summarizing the ease for unemploy- 
ment compensation for the dockers, said: " If it is moral 
to have maintenance charges for docks then it is equally 
moral to have maintenance for labor.'' The union also 
argued that the experience of the workmen's compensation 
laws had shown that specific allocation of responsibility for 
accidents upon employers had already done much to stimu- 
late the movement for the prevention of accidents in indus- 
try. The union held that an employment insurance fund 
scheme would provide a similar financial incentive to the 
employer to reduce unemployment. 

In its brief, the union stated that the unemployment fund 
should be based on contributions by manufacturers of a 
specified sum per worker per week, with provisions which 
would penalize those employers who had an excess amount 
of unemployment by making them pay a higher premium. 
In reply to the argument that a certain degree of unem- 
ployment cannot be eliminated by action of the industry 
alone, the union pointed out that in a competitive industry 
such as the men's clothing industry, the cost resulting from 
such unemplojment would be shifted to the consumer like 
any other cost of production, and properly so. On the other 
hand, the employer who had reduced the amount of unem- 
plo3rment in his shop by reason of better planning and man- 
agement would pay less to such a fund and would thus 
acquire a legitimate competitive advantage over his fellow 
employers. 

When the hearings were held in Chicago early in July, 
it was apparent that the clothing industry had been hard 
hit by the change in the general business situation. Can- 
cellations of orders for the fall manufacturing season in 
large and increasing volume came from the retailers. There 
were also many other indications that the country as a whole 
was drifting into a widespread industrial depression. The 
employers argued that under such circumstances it was un- 



160 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

timely to consider any measures for the relief of the workers. 
The industry, they contended, found itself in a very critical 
position, the manufacturers faced heavy losses as their goods 
were thrown back on their hands, and the outlook for the 
future was at best unpromising. 

The chairman of the Board of Arbitration in the Chicago 
market delayed issuing his decision until the hearing and 
arbitration proceedings in the other clothing centers had 
been concluded by the middle of August, 1920. In the 
meantime the situation in the clothing industry and in other 
industries had become worse. In his decision on August 
17, 1920, he denied the request for a wage increase asked for 
by the union because of the depressed condition of the cloth- 
ing industry. He recognized, however, the importance of 
an unemployment fund to the industry and to the workers 
and accordingly made provisions for the appointment of a 
commission, instructed to investigate and report the facts. 
The decision of the arbitrator, Professor Tufts, is in part 
as follows: 

i '^ The first question raised was whether the present situation 

justifies action by the board under the emergency section. The 

union showed that changes were under consideration in other 

. markets, while the manufacturers claimed that no emergency 

i existed of the sort for which the emergency section provides. 

" The board rules that the purpose of the clause was to pro- 
vide a safety valve, and that in construing the clause the prin- 
ciple of a broad rather than a narrow or technical interpreta- 
tion should be used. In any case of a doubt it is better to 
investigate. 

"On the question of whether readjustment should be made, 
the union claimed that the cost of hving had increased since the 
award of December 22, 1919, and it is still increasing and seems 
likely to increase further, and that increases are being given in 
various other industries. 

" The manufacturers urged that, for the best interests of the 
industry, prices should be kept as low as possible, and submitted 
information as to present conditions in the industry. The 
board holds that conditions in the industry are not such as to 
justify a change in wages at the present time. 

" With regard to the creation of a non-employment fund, the 
board believes that the first step in any case is to investigate. 



THE GREAT WAGE ARBITRATIONS 161 

It will therefore appoint a commission on which both parties 
are represented, with a chairman representing the impartial 
machinery, to investigate the subject and to report as promptly 
as is consistent with the necessary study." 

The industrial depression which first became apparent in 
the clothing industry at the close of the spring manufactur- 
ing season of 1920 became more general and severe in its 
effects in the latter part of that year. Activity in one in- 
dustry after another was reduced; prices fell, and imemploy- 
ment increased. For a time the nominal wholesale prices 
for men's clothing remained for the most part undisturbed. 
In November, 1920, however, the so-called " price guarantee 
agreemlent " expired and there was a sharp drop in prices. 
Despite the great price change, there was virtually no de- 
mand for clothing by retailers. Many of the large manu- 
facturers in the Chicago market refrained from beginning 
manufacturing operations for the spring season until the 
latter part of December or early January. Production in 
other markets was similarly curtailed. At the same time 
the New York and Boston markets were in a state of lock- 
out which had caused almost a complete cessation of manu- 
facturing operations. 

THE ARBITRATION OF MARCH, 1921 

In the latter part of February the employers in the Chi- 
cago market formulated and presented demands to the union 
for changes in wages and working conditions to apply to 
all manufacturers under agreement in the market and to 
their several contractors. The requests of the Chicago 
manufacturers were as follows: 

1, A flat reduction of 26 per cent, in all wage scales, both 
week and piece. 

2. A reduction of those piece work rates which yielded earn- 
ings substantially in excess of the market norm, unless the 
higher earnings were due to unusual efficiency. The reduction 
in rates asked for was in addition to the flat reduction of 25 
percent. 

8. Adoption of a system of " automatically enforceable 
standards of production " for cutters and trimmers. This sys- 



162 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

tern, said the chairman of the Board of Arbitration, amounted 
to ** a piece work system under which the worker would be paid 
not for the quantity of work turned out during the payroll 
week, but according to the quantity turned out during a speci- 
fied preceding period." 

A general conference and preliminary hearing was held 
on March 5, 1921, to consider the request made by the manu- 
facturers. At this conference, the employers submitted cer- 
tain data showing average full time weekly earnings and 
computed average annual earnings of the more important 
sections in both the ready-made and tailor-to-the-trade 
branches of the industry; price conditions in the clothing 
industry and in the raw material markets; changes in the 
cost of living since June, 1920, and wage reductions in ether 
industries, particularly the textile industries. 

At the close of this preliminary conference, the union 
asked for the opportunity to make independent investiga- 
tion and to prepare its case in lig^t of the data presented 
by the employers. The union stated that it obviously did 
not have access to certain information available to the manu- 
facturers. It therefore asked specifically that representa- 
tive houses in the Chicago market supply figures showing 
the manufacturing costs and overhead expense in 1920 and 
1921. It also requested that the manufacturers give data 
showing by months the number of orders received from Octo- 
hcT 1st to March 15th for the spring manufacturing sea- 
sons, 1918-1920 and 1920-21. The information on orders 
was designed to throw light on comparative business con- 
ditions during these three seasons, more especially to indi- 
cate the trend in the industry and the extent to which, if 
any, the business in the men's clothing industry in Chicago 
had improved from the extremely depressed state of late 
1920. 

Formal public hearings on the request of the manufac- 
turers were held on March 28 and 29. 1921, in the assembly 
hall of the Northwestern School of Commerce. The hear- 
ings were very largely attended and considerable space was 
given to the proceedings by the Chicago newspapers as well 



THE GREAT WAGE ARBITRATIONS 163 

as by trade journals. Several hundred active members of 
the Chicago Joint Board of the Amalgamated attended the 
two all-day hearings. Many manufacturers, labor man- 
agers and other representative employers from the Chicago, 
IU)cbester and Baltimore clothing markets were present. 
Added interest was given to the proceedings by the fact 
that this was the first case brought by the manufacturers 
for a wage reduction before the impartial arbitration ma- 
chinery in any of the large clothing markets of the country. 

Considerable general interest was also manifested in this 
arbitration. Organized workers and employers particularly 
were concerned with the outcome. Though the wage re- 
duction movement had been set in motion several months 
before, the wage changes that had become effective in un- 
organized industries had been made by employers without 
any check by an impartial tribunal, while in the case of 
organized workers wage reductions had in some cases been 
accepted after negotiations, or had been followed by strikes 
or lockouts. The arbitration proceedings in the Chicago 
clothing industry, affecting directly as it did 40,000 workers, 
therefore attracted mudi attention. It indicated an orderly 
method for settling problems of wage adjustment in periods 
of industrial stress. Because of the importance of the case 
and the circumstances under which the proceedings were 
conducted, the decision was destined to have a far-reaching 
effect upon arbitration proceedings or wage negotiations 
in other organized industries, as well as in the clothing in- 
dustry. 

The employers presented their case by the submission of 
a formal brief, many statistical exhibits and by oral argu- 
ment. The position taken by the employers was, in brief, 
as follows: 

1. For almost a year the clothing industry has suffered from 
acute depression. In the liquidation process that has neces- 
sarily resulted, all factors in the industry, except labor, have 
shared. Prices of raw materials and manufactured goods have 
been much reduced. But labor has failed to take a reduction 
in wages. 



- ) 



■1 



164 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

2. The volume of sales of men's clothing has declined be- 
cause the prices of clothing are at a higher level than the prices 
of other commodities. The only remedy for this condition is 
the munediate reduction of aU costs so that prices may be 
lowered to the point where they wiU stimulate sales. All items 
of cost other than direct labor costs, have already been reduced. 
Labor costs alone remain at the level of 1920. 

8. This reduction in costs can be accomplished only by a 
substantial cut in wages. But such a cut does not mean re- 
duced earnings, for it will be foUowed by expanding business, 
fuller employment, and, consequently, greater annual earnings. 

4. The cost of living in Chicago it is estimated has decreased 
from June, 1920, to February, 1921, by fuDy 16 per cent. It 
IS likely to fall still further in the immediate future. «« Even 
though we should be disappointed," said the brief of the em- 
ployers, ** in our hope of increasing earnings by the reduction 
asked for, we should still be within the limits of justice if we 
based our requests on the cost of living alone." 

5. Wages in the clothing industry in Chicago have been 
increased two hundred and fifty-four per cent, since 1915. 
They have increased more than has the cost of living; they have 
increased more than have average wages in other organized 
trades. Moreover, an unusuaUy large proportion of the work- 
ers m the Chicago clothing industry have no dependents or but 
one dependent. The wages of the workers in the clothing in- 
dustry can therefore easily stand a reduction. 

6. Wages in other industries have been reduced. In some 
cases the workers who have already suffered a reduction were 
organized. 

The employers' case, therefore, rested first, on the propo- 
sition that during industrial depressions labor should share 
the burdens of liquidation; second, that there was a "nor- 
mal " relationship between prices in one industry and those 
in another, and that this balance must be restored if normal 
business conditions were to be secured; third, that an in- 
dustry by reducing prices could divert for at least an in- 
definite period purchasing power now used in buying other 
commodities to the purchase of the goods manufactured by 
it; fourth, that the increases in wages in the past had been 
made with reference to changes in the cost of living, and 
the reductions asked for were therefore justified by the re- 
duction in the cost of living from the " peak " prices of 



THE GREAT WAGE ARBITRATIONS 165 

1920; and fifth, that there is some general level of wages in 
this country which must be closely approached by all in- 
dustries. The clothing workers' wages in Chicago are above 
this level. Their earnings must be reduced as they have 
already been in certain other industries. 

In attempting to measure changes in the cost of living 
and earnings since 1915, the manufacturers by inference 
also contended that that year represented the " norm " or 
standard from which relative changes were to be measured, 
though the general market agreement had been signed in 
May, 1919, and wage rates, hoiu*s and working conditions 
had been fixed by direct negotiation between the union and 
employers at that time and had been modified since only by 
action of the impartial arbitration machinery. 

The employers submitted in support of their general argu- 
ment a large number of statistical exhibits. Among the 
more important of these exhibits were: 

1. Tables showing average weekly earnings (four best con- 
secutive weeks in 1920 under existing piece work and week work 
rates) in the coat, trouser and vest shops, by operations, and 
for both the ready-made and special order houses. 

2. Charts showing variations in total payroll by weeks for 
coats, trousers and vest shops, for the purpose of indicating 
average amount of employment throughout the year and thus 
average annual earnings. 

8. Reports of unit volume of business booked for the spring 
manufacturing seasons 1919, 1920 and 1921, for individual 
representative houses. 

4. Reports of manufacturing and other costs for both ready- 
made and special order houses. 

5. Average prices in 1921 and 1920 ; and concentration of 
spring business for 1921 as compared with 1920 on various 
priced models. 

6. Volume of cancellation of spring orders 1919, 1920 and 
1921. 

7. Unit volume of returned goods in the fall of 1921 as 
compared with 1918 and 1919. 

8.^ Changes in the cost of living compared to increase in 
earnings for all workers in at single large wholesale clothing 
firm January, 1916, to January, 1920 (suggested as represent 
tative of increase in average earnings for the market in this 
period) . 



\ 



166 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

In their argument the employers had put particular em- 
phasis upon the necessity of labor's sharing the burdens of 
liquidation in a period of industrial depression and the need 
for making further reduction in cost so that prices to the 
consiuner would be lowered and buying stimulated. Only 
by the acceptance of this theory of wage liquidation could 
the employers justify the drastic wage reductions which they 
requested the Board of Arbitration to make. On its part 
the union contended that the granting of the requests of the 
manufacturers would only result in a serious impairment 
of the workers' standard of living and therefore was wholly 
unwarranted. The union spokesmen, therefore, in their oral 
arguments and in the written briefs submitted to the Board 
addressed themselves not alone to the questions of changes 
in living costs, wage reductions in other industries, relative 
wages and the trend of business conditions in the men's 
clothing industry, but also to the economic theory of wage 
liquidation advanced by the employers. The brief prepared 
by the research department of the union dealt in a series of 
separate memoranda with the following aspects of the 
case: 

Wages in the men's clothing industry in Chicago. 

Wages and cost of living. 

Cost of living in Chicago. 

The extent of wage reductions. 

Wage reduction in the textile and oil industries. 

Relation between cost and wages in the Chicago clothing 

industry. 
Business conditions. 

The economic theory of wage liquidation. 
Labor's share in liquidation. 

The union was represented by President Sidney HiUman, 
Manager Samuel Levin, General Executive Board mem- 
bers A. D. Marimpietri and Samuel Rissman, and Dr. Leo 
Wolman in the oral arguments at the public hearings. By 
the very nature of the case the arguments of the union 
spokesmen were directed in large measure toward a refuta- 
tion of the position advanced by the employers. However, 
at the very outset the union directed attention to the present 



THE GREAT WAGE ARBITRATIONS 167 

status of the workers in the Chicago clothing market as 
organized workers. 

The union laid stress on the importance of the fact that 
the clothing workers of Chicago were now organized into a 
strong trade union. This, the union said, was fundamental 
to an understanding of the case and a proper decision by 
the Board of Arbitration. The workers hail organized for 
the express purpose of protecting the standards whidi they 
had since secured through organization and for steadily rais- 
ing their standards of well-being. Throughout the argu- 
ment of the employers this outstanding fact of the situation 
had been overlooked. The union as a labor organization 
could not accept a theory of wage liquidation during indus- 
trial depressions which would wipe out gains made during 
more prosperous times and tend to undermine standards 
attained by negotiation and agreement. 

Neither would the union consider that reductions in wage 
rates suffered by unorganized workers be taken as a guide 
in the determination of the wages of organized workers. 
Such wage reductions, wherever accepted by the workers, 
indicated only the superior strength of the employers with- 
out regard to the fairness or the necessity for the lower wage 
standards. In fact, the union showed that in two important 
industries, in which the employers said in their brief the 
most drastic wage reductions had made, profits and divi- 
dends paid had been extraordinarily large for the year 1920. 
It was obvious that in these cases there was no justification 
for the wage reductions made by the employers. 

The union considered first the principal contention of the 
employers— namely, that the Chicago clothing industry was 
in a condition of acute depression and that recovery could 
only come after a drastic wage reduction and lowered labor 
costs had made possible lower prices. In reply the union 

contended: 

First, that prices could be reduced without a reduction in 
wages. In the past, said the union, there has been no close 
relationship between changes in wages and changes in prices. 
During the boom period of 1919 and early 1920 it is a well- 



.*" 



168 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

known fact that prices of men's clothing (and of other com- 
modities) were determined not by any relation between 
wages and prices but solely by what the traffic would bear. 
Second, that the cost data presented by the employers 
show that labor cost does not constitute the all-controlhng 
element in the cost of making clothes. The information on 
costs furthermore shows that there are diversities in labor 
costs and in the other elements of cost reported by different 
manufacturers. In certain houses overhead expense is the 
largest item. In other instances cost of raw material, wool- 
ens and trinmiings, represents a greater proportion of total 
cost than does any other element. The cost figures show that 
the wage reductions demanded by the manufacturers even 
if made would have little effect on the total production cost 
of making clothes and a still smaller and more remote effect 
upon the final price of clothing paid by the consumer. 

Third, that before reducing labor costs as requested by 
the employers the Board should inquire into the fairness of 
the present level of labor costs. 

** The employers,** said President Hillman, " have asked for a 
reduction in labor costs without defining what a proper labor 
cost is. They have simply said they are excessive. The union 
submits that the Board must take into account, in determining 
a fair standard of labor costs, whether labor costs have in- 
creased disproportionately to total cost; what steps had been 
taken by the union to reduce costs through increased efficiency, 
and finally, the primary obligation of the industry to assure to 
its workers a decent standard of living. The figures will show 
that though earnings have increased, labor costs have not in- 
creased disproportionately to total costs; that the union has 
made contributions to the efficiency of the market and that 
though workers' standards had risen they were not excessive 
and that they did not place an unfair burden on the consumers 
of men's clothing." 

The union cited in this connection the cost figures and 
data showing change from week work to piece work in the 
market, which had been submitted by the manufacturers. 
The cost figures showed that for ten of fourteen houses labor 
cost was less than thirty per cent, of total cost. Labor cost 



THE GREAT WAGE ARBITRATIONS 169 

to-day, March, 1921, does not constitute a larger proportion 
of the total costs, even after there have been reductions in 
other items of cost as the employers have stated, than did 
labor cost in 1915. Labor cost to-day, therefore, is clearly 
not excessive. 

For this result the union showed it was in a large measure 
responsible. " In the period since the agreement was signed 
in May, 1919, labor cost," said the imion's brief, " has been 
reduced mainly through the energetic co-operation of the 
union. On the basis of calculations made by the union, it 
has been found that the reduction in labor costs brought 
about by the co-operation of the union has been, in the period 
from May, 1919, to date (March, 1921), fully as great as 
ten per cent, with respect to the savings due to changes from 
week work to piece work alone. 

It is pertinent to quote at this point the statement of 
A. D. Marimpietri made before the Board of Arbitration: 

** The union has always helped and in many cases volunteered 
suggestions for the elimination of unnecessary costs in the pro- 
cess of manufacturing. To-day it can be safely said that the 
industry is running, so far as the manufacturing part is con- 
cerned, more efficiently than ever before. It can be asserted 
without fear of contradiction that this market exceeds all 
others in the matter of manufacturing efficiency. 

** To secure the good-will of the workers, it has taken con- 
siderable patience and effort on our part, and with the help 
of the impartial machinery we have been quite successful. I 
want to emphasize the weight that we give to the good-will of 
the workers because I know that without it my best intentions 
and that of my colleagues would be of very little value. 

** A still further reduction would to my honest conviction 
seriously affect the good-will of the workers toward the em- 
ployers, the agreement, and the impartial machinery to which 
they have been and are being educated to look for protection 
and justice. 

"A still further reduction would in the long run prove 
ominous to the industry, because it would impair the efficiency 
of the workers. 

** Let me explain the meaning of the last statement : since the 
signing of the general agreement in this market a stupendous 
amount of energy was released from our piece workers, energy 



' 1 

i I 



170 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

that was kept in reserve for fear of rate reductions, a fear 
amply justified by the past custom in our industry. 

" Piece work rates were instituted by foremen or other execu- 
tives and I do not intend to criticize the way the rates were 
arrived at, 1)ut I want to say that although these rates were 
generally low, it happened sometimes that a particular worker 
or a particular section would earn a little more money, with 
the consequence that the rate was immediately reduced. Cases 
of this kind were quite frequent and so the workers learned of 
it and most naturally applied their own remedy for correction, 
which was the refusal to give extra energy for no extra com- 
pensation. I shall tell my own experience in the matter, and 
I do not fear being accused of any wrong-doing, because I 
firmly believe I was entirely justified and I would do it in the 
future again under the same circumstances. 

** I was given certain piece work rates by the foreman of the 
shop where I worked. As a whole the rates were quite satis- 
factory ; by working hard I was able to earn a fair wage for 
that time, but I knew how far I could go, because I had seen 
and heard of rates being reduced for the only reason that the 
pay envelope looked too big to the employer or to the foreman. 
The fact that one worker was doing the work previously done 
by three, as in my case, was of no consideration whatever. Be- 
ing the only one on that particular job I was in a somewhat 
peculiar position. If I worked extra hard I could manage to 
take care of it; if I refused to speed another worker would be 
added and then there would never be work for both of us. I 
decided to work extra hard and at the same time turn in tickets 
for only weekly amounts which I knew, or I thought I knew, 
was the maximum allowed, and keep the rest for a slack period 
if that period was near or destroy them if need be rather than 
submit to a reduction of rates. This lasted for quite a while, 
until more of that kind came in the shop and a new worker, 
just arrived from Europe, was put beside me. He worked as 
hard as he could, turned in all his tickets at the end of the week 
and the next thing I knew, a reduction of 38 per cent, in the 
rate had taken place. 

" Under the agreement, such a system has disappeared, hence 
the releasing of the energy of which I am speaking. 

**That our workers are more efficient since the agreement 
cannot be justly denied, and if they are earning at present when 
at work a living wage, it is due chiefly to their increased effi- 
ciency, as a result partly of close co-operation between the 
employer and the union and partly of the introduction of labor 
saving machines." 



THE GREAT WAGE ARBITRATIONS 171 

Moreover, said the union, earnings at present wage rates 
do not yield to the worker and his dependents a standard 
of living which is excessive and a burden to the industry or 
to the consumer of clothing. To determine the weekly 
earnings of a clothing worker the annual earnings should 
be averaged over the fifty-two weeks of the year. The 
clothing worker is obliged to spread his earnings over the 
fifty-two weeks of the year, although he is actually employed 
for a considerably fewer number of weeks. If the necessary 
allowance be made for unemployment and earnings are 
spread over the whole year, the actual weekly income of a 
workingman is seen, in the following table, not to be ex- 
cessive: 

AVERAGE WEEKLY WAGES OF CLOTHING WORKERS, 

CHICAGO, 1920. 

(1 Year =52 Weeks.) 



Ready Made. 

Men. Women. 

Week Woekeks. 

Coats $81.00 $20.00 

Pants 24.00 16.00 

Vests 29.00 19.00 

Piece Workeks. 

Coats $39.60 $28.30 

Pants 38.20 25.00 

VesU 38.20 23.40 



Special Order. 

A ^ 

Men. Women. 



$28.00 $19.00 
29.00 19.50 
33.00 22.70 



$36 . 90 $25 . 30 
35.30 27.80 
36.80 26.90 



" On no level of prices," said the union's brief, " can 
those wages be said to be more than adequate." No reduc- 
tion of labor costs at the expense of wages can be justified 
if the industry's obligation to support its workers is recog« 
nized as a primary one. 

Fourth, that wage reductions cannot be justified on the 
ground that all interests other than wage-earners had taken 
losses in the process of liquidation and that labor should take 



172 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

its share by axx;epting a wage cut. The union did not deny 
that many manufacturers had suffered losses during the 
period of liquidation which followed the decline of business 
in 1920. The union maintained, however, that " while 
there is no fair comparison between the nature and 
extent of liquidation experienced by workingmen and by 
business men, the employers' figures show that in the last 
six months of 1920 workers in the clothing industry in 
Chicago su£Pered serious and continuous imemployment. 
This unemployment carried with it enormous reductions 
in earnings. Furthermore, earnings of workers had been 
also reduced by changes in the quality of work de- 
manded of them." Yet the manufactiu*ers were now de- 
manding virtually that workers share their losses of liqui- 
dation, though when business was booming, prices high and 
profit margins large, the employers had not asked the 
workers to share in the profits. " In every respect the con- 
dition in the last six months of 1920 and early 1921 was one 
of real liquidation so far as the workers in the clothing in- 
dustry were concerned. Man for man, the economic sacri- 
fice experienced was fully as great as that experienced by 
any manufacturer or any other agent of industry in the 
clothing industry. The whole process of liquidation has 
meant for the worker a definite set-back in the standard of 
living." 

Fifth, that an analysis of the factors operating in a depres- 
sion would show that even if the wage reductions asked for 
by the manufacturers were made they would not bring the 
stimulation of sales and increased volume of employment 
that they had hoped for when they had presented their 
case. The imion pointed out that general price reductions 
in a period of industrial depression do not bring an increase 
in the volume of business. On the contrary, a stable price 
level is essential to the stimulation of sales. Buyers hold 
oflf when they believe prices will go still lower and begin to 
buy once they are assured that prices are fair and stable, 
provided the purchasing power of the consumer has not been 
impaired because of wage cuts or unemployment, and finally. 



THE GREAT WAGE ARBITRATIONS 1T8 

that the acute depressed condition in which the clothing in- 
dustry found itself at the beginning of the spring manu- 
facturing season of 1920-21 and upon which condition the 
manufactiu'crs had based their case, had, in large measure, 
passed. 

As the spring manufacturing season of 1920-21 advanced, 
there was a marked increase in the number of orders received 
by Chicago clothing manufacturers. This fact was re- 
vealed, the union pointed out, in the figures for the number of 
orders received which were submitted by the manufacturers 
to the Board of Arbitration at the request of the union. 
This increase in business had already reflected itself in the 
volimie of employment enjoyed by the clothing workers in 
Chicago and in other clothing centers. " Already only one 
month after the employers' brief was submitted," said the 
statement of the union, " clothing markets report a short- 
age of workers and advertisements in newspapers for addi- 
tional workers are to be found." 

The brief of the union also directed attention to the re- 
ports in trade papers of the withdrawal of offerings of 
woolen lines for the fall, 1921 ; the improvement in the Fed- 
eral Reserve Banks' reserve ratio and the consequent eas- 
ing of the credit situation; the resumption of activity in the 
building industry; the favorable reports made by depart- 
ment stores to the Federal Reserve Board on the volume of 
trade in January and February; and the increase of activity 
in certain industries, particularly those dealing with such 
goods as boots and shoes, textiles and wearing apparel, as 
constructive factors in the general business situation. The 
union held that the men's clothing industry had in fact made 
a distinct recovery from the depressed condition of 1920 and 
that an improvement in the general situation would still 
further aid in expanding the volume of business in the in- 
dustry. Recovery had then in part set in, although there 
had been no change in the wage level. 

The employers had laid much stress on the decrease in 
the cost of living which occurred between June, 1920, and 
December, 1920, in their argument for a reduction. The 



174 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

union challenged the conclusions of the employers on a num- 
ber of grounds. In the first place the union pointed out 
that wage adjustments since 1917 had not been on the basis 
of changes in the cost of living. They were due to the ef- 
forts of the union to raise the workers' standard of living 
and the wage reduction asked for by manufacturers if 
granted would reduce the standards reached by agreement. 
In fact, in the case of many of the increases granted the 
lower paid sections were given a relatively higher increase 
than the better paid sections so as to raise the standard of 
the more poorly paid workers. 

Mr. Samuel Levin, Manager of the Chicago Joint Board, 
discussed at the public hearing the effect of a horizontal 
wage cut on the Chicago market. " In practically all of 
the adjustments," said Mr. Levin, " in wage rates made in 
the market, workers in the more highly paid sections have 
been given smaller increases relatively than have been given 
workers employed on the more poorly paid operations. It 
has been the union policy to use the official increases granted 
to it to raise the standards of the more poorly paid workers. 
A wage reduction would first reduce the standards of the 
low paid workers whose level of well-being the union has 
been able to raise only after considerable effort. It would 
also result in reducing the standards of the more hi^y paid 
workers whose wages were never advanced as rapidly as the 
cost of living. The reduction of these workers cannot be 
justified upon any slight reduction in the cost of living 
index." 

In the second place, the union held that the employers had 
attempted to measure changes in living cost from June, 
1920. June, 1920, was not a proper base. The workers had 
been given no increase in 1920 to compensate them for the 
rise from December, 1919, to June, 1920. It was the union's 
contention that change in living cost should be measured, 
if at all, from December, 1919, to March, 1921. 

In the third place, the union challenged the accuracy of 
the figures of the employers for measuring changes in living 
costs. On the basis of a new series of index numbers 



THE GREAT WAGE ARBITRATIONS 175 

constructed by the union which differed from those of the 
United States Bureau of Labor Statistics by giving a new 
and proper weight to rents, the union showed that there had 
been only a slight change downward in the cost of living from 
December, 1919, when the last change in wage rates had been 
made in the Chicago market. On the basis of this index the 
estimated decrease in the cost of living from December, 
1919, to May, 1921, was from three to five per cent. Fur- 
thermore, it was the imion's contention that there was a 
probability of an increase in prices, particularly of food, 
rather than a further decrease. 

In the fourth place, the union, while admitting that when 
the changes are very great, the index number of the cost of 
living is a legitimate index; it at the same time directed atten- 
tion to the difficulties inherent in changing wages whenever 
there is only a slight change in the cost of living index. The 
unioB said: 

"Finally the union urges the necessity for great cautien in 
Making any wage adjustments whatsoever on the basis of only 
»bght changes in an index number of the cost of living. A 
wage reduction is after all a very real and personal thing. It 
has to be explained to large masses of people, each of whom 
has his own personal experience with regard to both income 
and expenditures. It is a debatable question whether any 
adjustment in wages downward is justified in a highly organ- 
wed industry when there may exist considerable difference of 
opinion with regard to the validity of the various measures of 
changes m the cost of living." 

The employers had contended that the earnings of the 
workers in the Chicago clothing industry had increased, 
according to the figures of the manufacturers, 254 per cent! 
since 1915. This increase, they said, in the earnings of the 
clothing workers was greater than the increase in living costs 
and more than earnings of workers had increased in other 
mdustries. To cut wages in the clothing industry would 
not reduce standards below a proper level. 

The representatives of the Amalgamated pointed out, 
however, that the demand of the manufacturers was for a 
reduction of wage rates, and that even if the figures of the 



I 



176 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

manufacturers were correct and typical of the market as a 
whole they were not pertinent to the question before the 
Board of Arbitration. Changes in earnings, the union said, 
are due only in part to wage increases. Earnings of 
workers in the Chicago market have been affected by in- 
creases in output and efficiency. To reduce wages because 
earnings were high would penalize the worker for his greater 
contribution and would amount to adopting " the bad prin- 
ciple that all gains resulting from improvement in efficiency 
should go to the employer." 

Even if earnings or wage rates had increased more than 
had the cost of living or than had wages in other organized 
industries since 1915, they were not a proper basis for the 
granting of a wage cut. The employers had selected 1915 
as a starting point from which to measure relative changed 
in living costs and earnings of clothing workers in Chicago. 
" Why," said the union, " select 1915 as a base? There is 
no agreement by the imion that earnings in 1915 yielded 
the workers a proper standard of living, even at 1915 prices. 
As a matter of fact, earnings of clothing workers in 1915 
were notoriously low and only by raising wages, through 
organization, faster than the increase in the cost of living, 
could the clothing worker attain a proper standard or reach 
the level already reached by other organized workers." The 
union, therefore, objected to the comparison of relative 
changes in wage rates or earnings with the cost of living, 
unless a proper base was selected from which to measure 

such changes. 

But the union did not content itself with a discussion of 
the principles involved in the use of a comparison between 
wages and cost of living. It showed that official wage in- 
creases in the Chicago market had in fact lagged behind the 
increase in the cost of living. Earnings, no doubt, had risen 
at a higher rate than shown by a compilation of official wage 
adjustments. But these higher earnings, as had been shown, 
resulted in part from other causes than general market wage 
adjustments. 

After the public hearings the imion questioned the power 




'I 



THE GREAT WAGE ARBITRATIONS 177 

of the Board of Arbitration, acting under the specific pro- 
visions of the Chicago agreement, to change wages unless 
there had been " a general change in wages in the clothing in- 
dustry." No such general wage change, it submitted, had 
taken place. This challenge of the jurisdiction of the Board 
the union did not present until after the public hearings had 
been held. It did not submit its objections on this matter 
sooner because it wished to afford an opportunity to the 
Board of Arbitration to fully investigate the claim of the 
manufacturers that an emergency within the specific mean- 
ing of the agreement actually existed. 

DECISION OF THE CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF 

ARBITRATION 

The question raised by the union as to the power of the 
Board to make an award had, of course, to be disposed of 
first. After reviewing the use of the emergency clause in 
previous hearings, the chairman held that Professor Tufts 
when chairman, in making his decision on the arbitration 
proceedings of July and August, 1919, had ruled " that the 
purpose of the clause was to provide flexibility and a safety 
valve; and in construing the clause, the principle of broad, 
rather than of narrow or technical interpretation should be 
used." At the time Professor Millis was making his de- 
cision the lock-out was still in effect in the New York mar- 
ket. He called attention to the fact that if a strict inter- 
pretation was given to the wording of the agreement that it 
would be " necessary for the workers and manufacturers in 
Chicago, now the largest market, to wait until something 
had been done in one or more of the other markets, before 
the Arbitration Board could decide a question of wages at 
issue. The chairman, quite independently of the case in 
hand, feels that such procedure would be unfortunate." 

Professor Millisj therefore ruled that the Board had power 
under the terms of the agreement to render a decision at that 
time on the question of wages in the Chicago market. 

As a basis for the decision on the wage cuts requested by 
the manufaxjturers, Professor H. A. Millis, chairman of the 



I 



178 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

Board of Arbitration, analyzed the data which had been sub- 
mitted by both sides. The Chairman first discussed the re- 
lation between earnings and wages in the Chicago market 
to determine whether the standards of the clothing worker 
were in fact excessive. " Data drawn from typical houses 
by the representatives of the manufacturers and submitted 
to the Board show for very good or the best successive four 
weeks (in each house) average earnings for a 44-hour week 
as follows: 



Men. Women. 

, A — -^ , A — ^ 

Piece Week Piece Week 

Work. Work. Work. Work. 

Coat Shops $61 .75 $40.59 $36.28 $27.52 

Pants Shops 52.20 87.65 87.44 26.57 

Vest Shops 51.19 41.57 82.68 29.57 

Average $51.79 $40.30 $36.18 $27.48 

Average for all workers (based upon 11,500). .$48.44 $84.81 



" These averages of course, show earning power with full and 
uninterrupted employment for 44 hours j)er week and with ap- 
proximately 71 per cent, of the men and 79 j)er cent, of the 
women on piece work and applying themselves intently and 
working rapidly as piece workers do. They are averages only 
and behind them, as would be expected, are great diversities of 
earnings by occupations — the extremes for men in the ready- 
made coat shops, for example, being $55.04 for sleeve sewers 
and $24.50 for finishers on week work, and $59.09 for edge 
pressers and $30.20 for a finisher on piece work; for women, 
$41.25 for button hole makers and $18.31 for basting pullers on 
week work, and $52.94 for sleeve sewers and $23.62 for basting 
pullers on piece work. Moreover, the averages presented are 
drawn from the tailor shops only; cutting rooms, spongers, 
machinists and other, these aggregating an eighth or a seventh 
of the workers employed, are omitted from consideration. With 
minor expectations, these mentioned are week workers, but 
taken as a group they have wages averaging about the same as 
those of their fellow week workers in the tailor shops." 



THE GREAT WAGE ARBITRATIONS 179 

Comparing these data and making allowance for the 
higher earnings for piece workers, the chairman concluded 
that the standards of the clothing worker set by agreement 
in 1919 *' cannot be said to be exorbitant and could not be 
regarded as having placed a tax or improper burden upon 
those served by the clothing industry." 

The chairman then discussed the effect of a wage reduction 
on the business outlook of the clothing industry. He found, 
in the first place, that " from data supplied by a large num- 
ber of manufacturers in a form requested by the Board, it 
appears that with the changes in prices induced by keen 
competition and in costs of manufacture and sale, a large 
part, if not most of the business is being done at a loss." 
On the other hand, he called attention to the fact, emphasized 
by the union, that direct labor cost in a large majority of 
houses reporting is less than thirty per cent, of the total cost 
of manufacture. 

The employers had contended in their argument that a 
drastic wage cut would so stimulate business and afford a 
larger measure of employment that despite lower wage rates, 
earnings of the workers would be increased. With this con- 
tention of the employers the chairman held that he could not 
agree. ** Of course, a reduction in wage rates would be fol- 
lowed by some increase in buying, if we may assume that 
any saving in labor cost will be passed on to the consumer. 
There is, however, no substantial reason to believe that a 
reduction of twenty-five per cent., as requested, would so 
favorably aflfect business that earnings would be maintained 
or increased because of the increased amoimt of work." 

Revival in the clothing industry, in the opinion of the 
chairman, was dependent upon revival in industry generally. 
" The fact is," said the chairman in his decision, " that the 
volume of business and the amount of work in the coming 
months will depend more upon what happens outside the 
clothing industry than upon what happens within it. If 
general business conditions improve materially, as many 
think they will and as there is much reason to think will be 
the case, there will be a good demand for clothing, for peo- 



{ 



180 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

pie will in that event have money to spend and will be of 
an optimistic frame of mind. If, on the other hand, there 
is widespread miemployment and reduced earnings in other 
industries, a great reduction in the cost of producing cloth- 
ing would not make the clothing industry normal or any- 
where near normal. In other words, there is much in the 
situation entirely beyond the control of the clothing industry. 
In fact, the clothing industry is a very dependent one ; very 
dependent upon the ups and downs in the general business 
situation." 

Coming then to the effect of a price change resulting from 
a wage reduction the chairman said: ** Certainty as to costs 
and stability in the market would be helpful regardless of 
any change in costs and prices. But, it must be said that if 
costs were reduced but instability still continued because of 
unusually keen competition for business and price cutting, 
there would still be more or less waiting. Moreover, what- 
ever may be the merits of the case, there is a rather prevalent 
feeling that prices are too high and that something should 
be done and will be done to bring them down to that in- 
definite and undefined thing, a * fair level'." Nevertheless, 
he held that ** the psychological effect of a readjustment in 
cost, provided any saving is not withheld from consumers, 
would have a favorable effect on the clothing business." 

He did not, however, " share the manufacturers' view that 
a drastic reduction in wages would so stimulate business as 
to maintain or increase earnings." 

" Such a drastic reduction would mean that the standards 
of wages set up by agreement would be impaired," read the 
decision of the Chairman. " The chairman is of the opinion 
that in the present situation these standards should not be im- 
paired because (a) they were set up by agreement by the parties 
in interest; (b) they cannot be said to have been exorbitant 
when tested by what organized workers of a comparable type 
received or by the cost of any socially acceptable type of living 
and therefore cannot be said to have placed a tax or improper 
burden upon those served by the clothing industry; (c) the 
workers cannot well be asked to accept losses which would in 
all probability accompany a drastic cut unless they are prom- 
ised a share in profits when profits are very good." 



i 



i 



1 



f 



THE GREAT WAGE ARBITRATIONS 181 

The chairman therefore held that " any adjustment will 
therefore be within the limits of the reduction in the cost of 
living and will not imdermine the general standards set up 
by agreement in 1919." 

The cost of living had declined, making allowance for 
changesiin rent about 8 or 9 per cent, from December, 1919. 
Many had received then a large increase in wages. On this 
basis clothing workers who had *' had the larger increases 
in the clothing industry of Chicago are better off by 15 per 
cent, or more than they were with equal employment in 
June or July, 1919, and 8 or 9 per cent, better oflp than im- 
mediately after the wage award of December, 1919. Only a 
small number of the workers are less than 10 per cent, better 
off in respect to purchasing power of their wage rates than 
they were in June or July, 1919, and these are some 8 or 9 
per cent, better off than they were left by the award of 
December, 1919." 

The Board therefore held that in view of the general sit- 
uation that a reduction within the limits of the change in the 
cost of living was justified. Moreover, the chairman ex- 
pressed the opinion that some reduction in wages at this time 
will be of assistance to the market situation and to the agree- 
ment. 

For the above reasons, the Board of Arbitration therefore 
ordered the following reductions in the wages of workers in 
tailor shops: 

** (a) that with the exception of those who came in the ' five 
per cent, class ' under the award of December, 1919, and except 
for cutters, trimmers (other than shop trimmers), and appren- 
tices, the wages and piece rates of the workers employed by the 
manufacturers within its jurisdiction, and also of those of the 
workers employed by the several contractors doing work for 
these manufacturers, shall be reduced ten per cent. (10%), 
this reduction to become effective at the beginning of the pay- 
roll week in each house on or following April 28, 1921. The 
wages of no week worker may, however, be reduced below the 
sum of $15.00 per week, which is the present minimum wage 
for learners in tailor shops and which is hereby continued in 
effect." 



r 



I 



h 4 >' 



1 



182 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

*^ (b) That the wages of the workers or sections falling 
within the ^ five per cent, class ' under the award of December, 
1919, shall be reduced five per cent. (6%), effective as of date- 
above indicated. 

^ (c) That the norms for tailors, examiners, bushelmen and 
bushel girls shall be reduced by ten per cent., and thus reduced, 
are continued in effect and shall be observed as hitherto." 

The Board ordered a reduction of 5 per cent, in the wages 
of trimmers and of other workers in the trimming-room, 
provided, however, that in no event shall any wage be re- 
duced below the sum of $15 per week. 

The award of the Board of Arbitration did not make a 
reduction in the wages of cutters or of apprentice cutters. 
In tlii3 case the Board decided that: 

" The Chairman is of the opinion that $45.00 per week is 
none too much at this time for a good, average cutter. The 
majority of cutters are mature men with families to support 
from their earnings. As tested by what other union men of 
comparable ability, training and responsibihty receive in Chi- 
cago, the wage of $46.00 is not a high one. Moreover, the 
cutters have not advanced as rapidly in wages as have their 
fellows in the tailor shops. The Board will therefore not rule 
with reference to cutters' wages in such a manner as to compel 
any reduction in the average received." 

It will be recalled that the employers had requested a wage 
cut of 25 per cent, for these workers as well as for the other 
workers in the clothing industry and had asked in addition 
for the establishment of " automatically enforceable stand- 
ards of production " in cutting and trimming rooms. Such 
standards would represent a change from the group stand- 
ards, which had been set by the cutters' commission cre- 
ated by the decision of the Board of Arbitration of Decem- 
ber, 1919, to individual standards of production under which 
the cutter or trimmer would be paid according to his pro- 
duction. 

When the cutters asked for a wage increase in December, 
1919, the manufacturers complained of reduced production. 
To meet the problem presented the Board then appointed a 
commission to set standards of production, which were sub- 



i* 



THE GREAT WAGE ARBITRATIONS 183 



sequently approved by the Board of Arbitration. The 
manufacturers and the union had, at that time, agreed upon 
standards " in the form of an average for the cutters re- 
ceiving the minimum or about the minimum wage set by 
the Board." The " group standards " then fixed had not 
worked satisfactorily, said the manufacturers, and therefore 
they now demanded individual standards " automatically en- 
forceable " — ^i. e. a system of payment according to pro- 
duction amounting to " a piece-work system under which 
the worker would be paid, not for the quantity of work 
turned out during the payroll period, but according to the 
quantity turned out during an earlier period." 

The chairman held that while he recognized the failure of 
the so-called " group standards " he was of the opinion that 
the automatic enforceable standard system requested by the 
manufacturers would be undesirable from the point of view 
of both management and workers. He said on this point: 

" On the one hand, it would give rise to problems of quality, 
of yardage, of disinclination to do certain kinds of work on 
which the worker felt that he could not make as good a record 
as on some other. On the other hand, it would l^ regarded as 
unfair by workers because the allowance could never be made 
exact; the work cannot always be divided evenly among the 
workers; it is easily possible to change the quahty of work 
required or the conditions under which it is done; it is verv 
difficult to make allowances for time lost through no fault of 
the worker; and, in special order houses especially, there is fre- 
quent waiting for work. For these reasons and the further 
reason that considerations other than output should have 
weight, the Chairman is of the opinion that cutting in this mar- 
ket is not a piece work job. Nor can there in any strict sense 
of the term be * automatically enforceable standards.' " 

He held, however, that the problem of production was 
one " which calls for solution in the interests of the manu- 
facturers, workers and impartial chairman," and that the 
solution would be found in establishing a closer relation 
between work done and wages. The failure of the group 
standard system he ascribed primarily to the fact that the 
faster worker was obliged under that system to give greater 



I 



H 



184 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

production without proportionate reward to make up for 
the deficiency of the slower worker, so that the average for 
the group might be maintained. 

Accordingly the decision of the chairman directed the es- 
tablishment of two cutters' commissions to fix standards of 
production, where none now existed and to revise existing 
standards " at those points where experience has shown the 
necessity for such revision." Cutters were to be classified 
into five groups for the purpose of relating production to 
wages as follows : 



Class. 



Production. 



Wage 
Per Week, 



A 115 per cent, or more of standard $49.00 

B 105 per cent, but less than 115 per cent, of 

standard 47.00 

C 95 per cent, but less than 105 per cent, of 

standard 45.00 

D 85 per cent, but less than 95 per cent, of stand- 
ard 48.00 

E Less than 85 per cent 41 . 00 



The classification of cutters was to become effective one 
month after standards had been fixed by the commission 
and approved by the Board. It was provided further that 
no cutter should be reduced more than $4.00 from present 
wages on account of reduction in production. To make 
allowance for length of service it was provided that no cutter 
" employed in a house for five years or more shall be re- 
duced below $48 per week." 

The Board specifically ordered that there should be no 
changes in the minimum scale or the wages of apprentices 
in the cutting-room. Provision was made for the setting up 
of such machinery as may be necessary for the administration 
of the classification scheme. The Board also directed the 
commission to set similar standards of production and wages 
for the trimmers, as soon as the standards for cutters had 
been established. 



THE GREAT WAGE ARBITRATIONS 185 

There still remained for decision the request of the manu- 
facturers for a reduction of those piece-work rates which 
yielded earnings substantially in excess of the market norms. 
While agreeing in principle that the manufacturers should 
be permitted to reduce so-called " peaks " whenever the 
high earnings of workers imder the existing rates did not 
result from extra eflFort and skill, the chairman held that 
each case would require special investigation and individual 
action so that the fundamental rule in the market relating to 
piece-work rates, namely " equal pay for equal effort " and 
additional pay for additional effort would not be violated. 
A commission consisting of a representative of the union, 
Mr. Marimpietri, and the labor manager for each house was 
set up to investigate and report on these cases. Only a few 
cases of ** peaks " came before the Board of Arbitration for 
subsequent action, many of the cases being withdrawn after 
investigation by the commission. The entire matter was 
practically disposed of in the case of the Majestic Tailoring 
Company, decided July 5, 1921. The company asked then 
that piece-work rates for 22 operations be reduced. The 
Board held that it would make no changes in present rates 
if such rates were above the market level for similar work 
because of the prices set or wages paid by the firm before 
the agreement was entered into. It adhered, in other words, 
to the same general principle upon which the decision on the 
main question of wage reduction had been based — ^namely, 
that the Board had no authority to reduce standards fixed 
by agreement between the manufacturers and the union or 
to change conditions made by employers before there was 
an agreement. Moreover, the chairman held that with regard 
to " peaks " it would not reduce piece-work rates voluntarily 
increased by the firm " without collective bargaining " and 
that it would not reduce any rate imless it is substantially 
in excess of a fair price. The chairman therefore held that 
18 of 22 alleged " peaks " would not be ordered changed. 
In the other four piece-work rates, it ordered only slight 
reductions. 



^ 1 



186 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

Four wage arbitrations have been held in the Chicago 
market. In 1917 only the workers employed by Hart, 
Schaffner and Marx were directly affected. In the last 
three proceedings the arbitration decisions have applied to 
the entire Chicago market. Wage increases were granted in 
May, 1917, and December, 1919. The decision in tiie arbi- 
tration proceedings in 1920 made no change in wage levels. 
In April, 1921, the award favored the employers, and wage 
reductions for the workers in the tailor shops, in some cases 
of 10 per cent, and in others of 5 per cent., were made. 

The Board of Arbitration in the proceedings of 1917 
found a difficult situation. On the one hand it was clear 
that the cost of living had risen and was continuing to go 
higher. Wages measured in terms of food and other neces- 
saries of life which money wages could buy were being re- 
duced. Unless the worker was given a wage increase his 
standards would be impaired. On the other hand, the case of 
the clothing worker had not been brought before the Board 
of Arbitration until after the firm had fixed its prices for tke 
season and had made sales at these prices. An award for 
the workers at that time would not have permitted the manu- 
facturers to pass any additional burden on to the consumer, 
certainly not to the extent that competitive conditions and 
the consumer's willingness to pay might have permitted at 
the beginning of the season. A decision favoring the em- 
ployer would however impose a hardship on the workers. 
The Board decided to preserve workers' standards, although 
it pointed out its obligation under more normal conditions 
not to put the manufacturer at a business disadvantage. 

Different conditions confronted the Board of Arbitration 
in December, 1919. The industry was extraordinarily pros- 
perous. The union was pressing for higher standards. 
Market conditions of supply and demand were favorable to 
the workers. The manufacturers contended that it was the 
duty of the Board to refuse to permit the workers to take ad- 
vantage of these conditions because to do so would be con- 
trary to " public policy." The chairman of the Board held 
that under the competitive system " labor had had to bar- 



THE GREAT WAGE ARBITRATIONS 187 

gain for its wages and it cannot be expected to forego en- 
tirely the advantages which market conditions now afford." 
It is interesting to note here that in the brief submitted by 
the manufacturers in the arbitration proceedings of March, 
1921, they said on page 44 that " by and large, progress of 
wage earners is made by taking advantage of normal adjust- 
ment to cost of living during an upward swing and by hold- 
ing some part of the increase when the tide turns." 

In the wage arbitration of July and August, 1920, the 
serious condition with which the clothing industry was then 
confronted was the outstanding fact. The effects of the 
depression were already evident in the clothing industry. 
Though the cost of living had risen and earnings had fallen 
because of decreased volume of employment, no relief could 
be forthcoming from a business situation then so acute. The 
Board made no attempt to anticipate a possible change in 
the bargaining strength of the parties to the agreement. It 
made mo change in the existing wage level. 

The last wage arbitration took place after the first stage 
of the depression which had first affected the industry in 
the spring of 1920 had passed. Inventories of raw materials 
and stocks of clothing had, generally speaking, been liqui- 
dated with some loss to the manufacturers. The earnings 
of the workers on the other hand had suffered because of 
wide-spread unemployment. The question presented to the 
Board of Arbitration was whether it was within the province 
of the Board to reduce the standards of the workers fixed 
by the agreement on the ground (1) that labor should share 
with the manufacturers the losses of , liquidation and (2) that 
a reduction of wages would permit lower prices to consumers 
and thus stimulate business. To this question the chair- 
man answered that he was not justified in reducing wage 
standards below what the workers had gained by agree- 
ment with the manufacturers. Employers had not shared 
profits with the workers. There was no agreement that 
workers should share losses with the manufacturers. 

But, the Board maintained, it did have the power and 
was justified in reducing wages to the extent that the cost of 



■I I' 



188 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

living had decreased, but only to that extent. In other words, 
while the Board could reduce money wages, it could not 
cut real wages — wages measured by the amount of food, 
clothing, shelter, etc., which the wages could purchase — 
when standards had been fixed by agrement between the 
manufacturers and the union. 

Under the " emergency clause " of the agreement which 
provides for wage changes by the Board of Arbitration, 
the Board, it will be recalled, has wide powers. It is given 
authority to make such changes in wages as in its judgment 
seems proper. The Board of Arbitration has, however, 
severely limited its own authority. It has not arbitrarily 
attempted to fix a " fair wage." In the December, 1919, 
arbitration the chairman, when faced directly with the issue, 
decided that the Board should not interpose its authority to 
prevent the union from bettering the standards of the 
workers when the industry could afford it on the ground, 
which the employers had iu*ged, of "protecting the con- 
suming public." He granted a wage increase equal in 
amount to what had been given in other clothing markets. 
Again in April, 1921, the Board of Arbitration, though 
granting a wage reduction, refused to lower the standards 
of living of the workers attained by the union through 
direct negotiation. The chairman did not accept the theory 
of " wage liquidation " used so prevalently in these days of 
wage reductions to justify, if possible, drastic wage cuts. 
He confined himself to a wage adjustment in conformity 
with changes in living cost. 



PART III 
GOVERNMENT IN INDUSTRY 



i 




\ 



John E. Williams 
Chairman, Board of Arbitration, 1912-1919 



J 



CHAPTER IX 

INTRODUCTION 

The story of the rise of the clothing workers in Chicago 
would be seriously incomplete without accounting for their 
achievement of citizenship rights in the industry. The 
growth of the workers' rights as free partners in the enter- 
prise of producing clothing dates from the settlement of the 
1910 strike. By that settlement the firm of Hart, Schaffner 
and Marx agreed to the creation of a Board of Arbitration 
with power to " fix a method for settlement of grievances, if 
any, in the future." It was an act of industrial statesman- 
ship on the part of one firm. But it can scarcely be supposed 
that those responsible for the step taken foresaw how far- 
reaching would be its consequences within a few years. They 
were, in fact, laying the foundation for a system of industrial 
government that was destined within a decade to revolution- 
ize industrial relations in all the important clothing markets 
of the country. Its influence upon the development of work- 
ers' control in related industries cannot yet be adequately 

estimated. 

Up to the time of the strike, absolutism had held virtually 
unbroken sway in the tailor shops of Chicago. Since then, 
it has been forced out from one stronghold after another 
through the organized power of the workers, until in 1919 it 
was completely superseded by constitutional rule. Owner- 
ship of a clothing factory at one time conferred upon the 
employer almost unlimited personal authority over the lives 
and happiness of the workers in his employ. To-day, its 
claims are being increasingly subordinated to the needs of 
the industry as a joint enterprise and a public utility. The 
rights of the owners to all possible profits have yielded 
ground to the demands of expert management for efficiency 
on one side, and to the human rights and interests of the 
workers on the other. Gk)vernment in the industry to-day 




John E. Williams 
Ch.iirman, Board of Arbitration, 1912-1911) 



CHAPTER IX 

INTRODUCTION 

The story of the rise of the clothing workers in Chicago 
would be seriously incomplete without accounting for their 
achievement of citizenship rights in the industry. The 
growth of the workers' rights as free partners in the enter- 
prise of producing clothing dates from the settlement of the 
1910 strike. By that settlement the firm of Hart, Schaffner 
and Marx agreed to the creation of a Board of Arbitration 
with power to " fix a method for settlement of grievances, if 
any, in the future." It was an act of industrial statesman- 
ship on the part of one firm. But it can scarcely be supposed 
that those responsible for the step taken foresaw how far- 
reaching would be its consequences within a few years. They 
were, in fact, laying the foundation for a system of industrial 
government that was destined within a decade to revolution- 
ize industrial relations in all the important clothing markets 
of the country. Its influence upon the development of work- 
ers' control in related industries cannot yet be adequately 

estimated. 

Up to the time of the strike, absolutism had held virtually 
unbroken sway in the tailor shops of Chicago. Since then, 
it has been forced out from one stronghold after another 
through the organized power of the workers, until in 1919 it 
was completely superseded by constitutional rule. Owner- 
ship of a clothing factory at one time conferred upon the 
employer almost unlimited personal authority over the lives 
and happiness of the workers in his employ. To-day, its 
claims are being increasingly subordinated to the needs of 
the industry as a joint enterprise and a public utility. The 
rights of the owners to all possible profits have yielded 
ground to the demands of expert management for efficiency 
on one side, and to the human rights and interests of the 
workers on the other. Grovernment in the industry to-day 



IRREGULAR PAGINATION 



m 



192 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

means that personal and arbitrary authority has given way 
to law and joint determination in all matters affecting the 
workers' interests. The economic power of the parties to 
production can express itself in the making and the changing 
of the laws, but once established by agreement these laws 
govern both, and cannot be ignored or violated with im- 
punity. 

This fundamental change must be understood in the light 
of the growth of workers' organization and of the economic 
power acquired by the workers as a consequence of organiza- 
tion. But the characteristic fact is the manner in which the 
union's power has been exercised in this case — the fact of 
leadership with a vision. Other trade unions in this country 
have been content to use their power negatively and obstruc- 
tively. They have used it to place narrow restrictions upon 
management, but have not desired to share also in manage- 
ment's responsibilities. The interests of the industry were 
not their concern. The Amalgamated, on the other hand, 
has been keenly alive to the welfare and development of the 
clothing industry. It has, indeed, identified its own perma- 
nent interests with those of the industry, and is concerned to 
see it grow into ever greater efficiency and prosperity. Be- 
cause of this constructive policy, dictated by its long-range 
outlook, the Amalgamated has been aggressively instru- 
mental in setting up jointly with the clothing manufacturers 
a constitutional form of government for the industry. 
This government, cuhninating in the " impartial machinery," 
has been promoted by the union, who are willing to have it 
curb their own freedom of action, if necessary, in the interest 
of the industry. The imion has voluntarily relinquished the 
right of direct action or of using its economic strength with- 
out stint or limit for gaining present advantages that might 
injure the larger and more enduring interests of the industry 
as a whole. 

The impartial machinery under the Hart, Schaffner and 
Marx agreements — ^its origin and constitution — has been de- 
scribed in a previous chapter. By its help the parties con- 
cerned have been able to develop in peace and to secure 



INTRODUCTION 



193 



reasonable justice during the years of its operation. Its suc- 
cess justified its extension to the rest of the market, when, 
in 1919, the other houses came under a similar agreement 
with the union. In this case it was not necessary to repeat 
the experimental stages of the enterprise — its trials and 
errors. The system was adopted in its full-grown form. A 
Trade Board and a Board of Arbitration were set up, on the 
pattern of the existing ones, with offices in the Medinah 
Building. They were given jurisdiction over all the firms 
belonging td the three manufacturers' associations, which 
were for this purpose united in the Chicago Industrial Fed- 
eration of Clothing Manufacturers. These firms, either in- 
dividually or in groups, engaged labor managers — ^men who 
were experts in industrial relations — ^to administer their labor 
policy in keeping with the requirements of the agreement, 
and to represent them before the boards in all hearings affect- 
ing their interests. 

In jointly selecting the first impartial chairman of the 
new Trade Board, the parties were fortunate in securing for 
the place Professor Harry A. Millis, economist, of the Uni- 
versity of Chicago. Professor James H. Tufts had early in 
the year succeeded Mr. Williams as chairman of the Board 
of Arbitration for Hart, Schaflfner and Marx. He was now 
chosen to preside also over the corresponding Board for the 
Federation. When, toward the close of 1920, Professor 
Tufts resigned owing to his absence from the city, he was 
succeeded by Professor Millis. The vacancy created in the 
Trade Board by the promotion of Professor Millis was pres- 
ently filled by the appointment of Mr. Benjamin M. Squires, 
who brought to the work the experience pf a mediator in the 
shipbuildkig industry during the war. 

Through the personality of Dr. Tufts and later of Dr. 
Millis, the impartial machinery for the entire market has 
from the outset been unified at the top. This unity facilitated 
the carrying over to the recently organized houses of the 
accimiulated body of principle and precedent that had grown 
out of some eight years' experience under the Hart, Schaffner 
and Marx agreements. The new agreement was itself 



': ( 



U 

II 

I" •. 

"« 

I 

I 



t 



194 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

modeled after the other in all its essential features. More- 
over, as a result of the impartial chairman's decisions under 
it there grew up a rule that on any point in dispute not 
covered by the language of the new agreement, the practice 
or precedent obtaining for Hart, Schaffner and Marx is to be 
binding for all alike. Thus the whole Chicago industry is, in 
eflFect, governed by a single collective agreement and a single 
body of law. 

Viewed from the standpoint of constitutional government, 
the impartial machinery corresponds to the judiciary or the 
courts. It comes into operation on the complaint of one or 
both of the parties to adjust differences between them that 
cannot be promptly settled by direct conference. It hears 
and adjudicates these differences in accordance with rules 
and principles laid down in the agreement and in previous 
decisions under the agreement. In the absence of such 
written law, the impartial chairman is guided by recognized 
custom or usage in the market. Decisions of the boards, 
insofar as they bear on the general principle or a market 
situation, in distinction from a particular or unique condition, 
in turn make new law through serving as precedents to 
govern future cases. The Board of Arbitration, it is true, 
is at least theoretically empowered to disregard past prece- 
dents and even to modify the agreement itself in response to 
new needs of the industry created by changing conditions. 
In practice, however, the Board exercises this power con- 
servatively. It endeavors, rather, to bring about such needed 
changes in the fundamental law through the processes of 
joint negotiation and agreement between the parties them- 
selves. Legislation, as such, is properly their work, and the 
method is that of collective bargaining. 

The two functions — ^the making of law and its application 
or interpretation — are not, however, sharply differentiated 
in this industrial government. The making of the agreement 
itself is, to be sure, the result of direct negotiation of the 
union with the manufacturers. But this is only the ground- 
work. Many arrangements and administrative details have 
to be worked out from time to time on the basis of joint in- 



INTRODUCTION 



195 



restigation and weighing of the facts. For this purpose semi- 
administrative, semi-legislative committees or commissions 
have to be created. They are frequently appointed or even 
presided over by the impartial chairman, who decides in the 
event of disagreement. Occasions are numerous, moreover, 
when the chairman by means of mediation can bring about 
agreement between the parties even after the dispute has been 
brought to a hearing. He thereby obviates the necessity for 
imposing a decision that, while it would be obeyed, might not 
improve the mutual attitude of the parties. When he does 
render a decision, it does not merely express his private 
opinion on the merits of the case before him. Nor, on the 
other hand, is it merely a technical adjudication of the issue 
on the basis of formal rules or precedents derived from past 
experience. The practice of the adjustment boards has been 
even better than their theory. It has consistently aimed at 
concrete justice and has attained this aim within the obvious 
limitations imposed by the character of our industrial situa- 
tion, so full of underlying conflict. 



CHAPTER X 

THE POWERS OF MANAGEMENT 

An essential condition of an efficient industry is efficient 
management. An indispensable element in efficient manage- 
ment is the power of initiative and execution. In other 
words, those who manage the industry must be left free to 
devise such new methods and processes as they conceive to 
be of technical advantage, and they must have the authority 
to introduce these changes without undue resistance from 
the workers affected by them. In an industry where the 
workers have no voice or recognized rights, the management 
theoretically has a free hand in giving orders, however these 
may affect the interests of the workers. It does not follow, 
however, that such autocratic management is the most effi- 
cient. On the contrary, the resistance of the workers to in- 
novations which they regard as harmful to their own inter- 
ests—either by way of undermining wage standards, of 
speeding up, or of reducing employment — is merely aggra- 
vated. It is apt to take the form of ca'canny or sabotage, 
just because there is no effective organization to give expres- 
sion to their discontent and to obtain redress. 

It is different in the clothing industry today. With a 
powerful organization of the workers to afford them pro- 
tection in their interests and their standards, it has become 
safe to entrust management with the powers and functions 
needed for efficient administration. It has become safe, be- 
cause the orders of the management are now of a provisional 
character rather than, as formerly, absolute and undebatable. 
They can be challenged by the workers in regular form and 
reviewed by an impartial board with respect to their effect 
on the workers' rights and standards. If they invade these 
rights of the workers or in any manner conflict with the in- 
tent of the agreement, orders of management can be vetoed 
by the Trade Board and the workers compensated for any 



THE POWERS OF MANAGEMENT 197 

loss actually sustained by them through the execution of 
such orders. On the workers' side there is the obligation to 
carry out all orders given by the management, and to abide 
the decision of the Trade Board in cases of dispute. Neither 
they nor their officials are to set themselves up as judges of 
the legality of the management's action by resorting to direct 
action against it. In a joint memorandmn supplementary to 
the Hart, Schaffner and Marx Agreement of 1919, this point 
was covered in the following language: " The function of 
interpreting the agreement belongs to the Trade Board and 
Board of Arbitration. The responsibility of management 
requires the giving of orders promptly and authoritatively. 
In order to protect the employes and maintain the integrity 
of the agreement the Trade Board shall have the right to 
set aside and annul any executive order that is in conflict 
with the agreement or decisions. Such executive orders, how- 
ever, are valid until thus passed upon and will be obeyed by 
the employes." 

By maldng executive orders subject to protest by the union 
and to review and veto by the impartial machinery, the man- 
agement gains a desirable freedom of initiative while the 
workers secure a guarantee against injury to their rights 
and interests. The limits upon the practical freedom of 
action of management are drawn at the point where it im- 
pinges upon the essential interests and rights of the workers 
and their organization. 

Within these practical limits the workers as an organized 
body respect the rights of management to conduct the in- 
dustry in accordance with its own insight, policies and 
methods. They do not seek to obstruct the executive activi- 
ties of management where these do not run coimter to the 
guaranteed rights of the workers. On the contrary, to the 
extent that the purposes of management aim at the orderly 
and efficient operation of the industry, the union endorses 
them and agrees to co-operate with the management in mak- 
ing possible their realization. This relationship of a mutual 
recognition of rights as a guiding principle for the parties 
in aU their dealings has been formulated by Mr. Williams 



198 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

in the preamble to the Hart, Schaff ner and Marx agreement. 
It reads, in part, as follows: 

^ On the part of the employer it is the intention and expecta- 
tion that this compact of peace will result in the establishment 
and maintenance of a high order of discipUne and efficiency 
bj the willing co-operation of union and workers, rather than 
by the old method of surveillance and coercion; that by the 
exercise of this discipline all stoppages and interruptions of 
work, and all wilful violations of rules will cease; that good 
standards of workmanship and conduct will be maintained and 
a proper quantity, quality and cost of production will be as* 
sured ; and that out of its operation will issue such co-operation 
and good will between employers, foremen, union and workers 
as will prevent misunderstanding and friction and make for 
good team work, good business, mutual advantage and mutual 
respect." 

In conceding to the employer this mieasure of recognition 
of his rights, the workers do not compromise their own 
rights in any sense. Rather do they assure themselves, 
through a give-and-take relationship, of a fuller and freer 
recognition of their own rights and purposes on the part 
of the employer. These rights and purposes of the workers, 
moreover, concern not merely the specific shop conditions 
and working standards necessary for their welfare as em- 
ployes. They concern also those more general and per- 
manent interests pertaining to the strength and prosperity 
of the workers' organization as an agency of industrial 
government. 

Chief among these permanent interests of the workers for 
the sake of which they have undertaken the responsibilities 
of the agreement, is that of building up within the industry 
a stable and effective organization of their own. They un- 
derstand that upon the maintenance of such an organization 
ultimately depends the protection of all their concrete in- 
terests as workers. And they have asserted this understand- 
ing as a fundamental purpose of the agreement in another 
paragraph of the Hart, Schaffner and Marx preamble, as 
follows: 

" On the part of the union it is the intention and expecta- 
tion that this compact will, with the co-operation of the em- 



THE POWERS OF MANAGEMENT 199 

ployer, operate in such a way as to maintain, strengthen, and 
solidify its organization, so that it may be made strong enough, 
and efficient enough, to co-operate as contemplated in the pre- 
ceding paragraph; and also that it may be strong enough to 
command the respect of the employer without being forced to 
resort to militant or unfriendly measures." 

Taken in conjunction with the paragraph previously 
quoted, this statement in practice implies nothing less than 
the creation of a working partnership between the employer 
and the union for the administration of all industrial rela- 
tions. Such a joint government of the industry on its human 
or labor side represents an advanced stage of what for want 
of a better term is known as 



COLLECTIVE BARGAINING 

Collective bargaining is the law-making function in in- 
dustry. It does not supplant the administrative function of 
management, but lays down the rules of the game — sets the 
limits and standards, which the management must observe 
in its dealings with the people. It is the method by which 
the people through their representatives exercise control over 
the conditions of their work and pay. This method did not 
spring into existence full-fledged in the clothing industry. 
It could not become operative until the union had been offi- 
cially recognized by the employer. The agreement of 1911 
made no provision for collective bargaining. Under it the 
company retained unrestricted freedom of action, while con- 
ceding to the people the right of presenting their grievances 
before an Arbitration Committee, and later before the Trade 
Board. Since that time, with the growing strength of the 
union more and more ground has been won for the operation 
of collective bargaining, until today all " labor conditions," 
or matters affecting the workers' interests, broadly conceived, 
are included within its scope. 

Collective bargaining as a union device has the double pur- 
pose of promoting the material interests of all its members 
and at the same time protecting and strengthening its own 
existence as an organization. Both of these purposes are 



200 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

best served in a competitive industry Kke the clothing in- 
dustry by a policy of standardization. In pursuance of such 
a policy, the union endeavors to make an agreement with 
all the employers in the market, and even in other competing 
markets, covering certain basic standards and working con- 
ditions. In this way competition among employers may not 
be carried on at the expense of their workers and no undue 
advantage is enjoyed by one portion of the industry at the 
expense of another. No employer may depart from such 
standards, once jointly established, unless a change is au- 
thorized by further joint action of the parties to the agree- 
ment, i.e., by collective bargaining. The standards are like- 
wise binding upon the workers. Thus, the union is ready 
to bring pressure to bear, through the impartial machiner}% 
upon any employer who should attempt to alter wage or 
working standards in his factory without its consent. On 
the other hand, it is prepared to disavow or penalize the 
action of any of its own members who should connive at 
such unlawful procedure, whether it involve a lowering or 
a raising of standards. 

Individual bargaining may bring present benefits to small 
groups of workers here and there who are more fortunate 
than their fellows in respect to skill or scarcity. But such 
benefits as these are usually obtained at the expense of other 
workers in the industry, and in any case are neither perma- 
nent nor seciu-e gains, for they lack the supporting power of 
the union to make them so. Individual bargaining, more- 
over, tends to undermine the strength and solidarity of the 
union itself and to render less effective its collective bargain- 
ing power. If workers are led to look to the employer rather 
than to their own organization for advancing their interests, 
they may, if they are exceptional individuals, receive favors 
and promotion at his hands. But for the great mass of 
workers, at least, it remains as true as ever that what the 
employer has given under conditions of labor shortage he 
can also take away with interest when conditions change in 
his favor — unless the union energetically interferes to pro- 
tect the gains. 



THE POWERS OF MANAGEMENT 201 



The benefits of collective bargaining do not, however, ac- 
crue exclusively to the union and its members. The em- 
ployers, especially the more stable and responsible among 
them, come in for a share of the beneficial effects. One of 
the outstanding effects of collective bargaining is its stabiliz- 
ing tendency. Standardization, as we have seen, rules out, 
so far as possible, all differential advantages of the less over 
the more scrupulous employer on the score of lower wage 
or working conditions. It likewise eliminates competition 
among workers for jobs on such a basis. Finally, it mini- 
mizes fluctuations in the relative bargaining strength of the 
two parties from one season to another and reduces friction. 
The total effect of these tendencies is the stabilization of the 
labor market and of labor relations in the industry. The 
employer stands to gain by stability, inasmuch as it enables 
him to figure his labor costs in advance with some degree of 
certainty, and releases energies otherwise absorbed in the 
unproductive business of petty bargaining with his labor. 
For these and similar reasons do progressive employers favor 
the system of collective bargaining, once they have been in- 
duced to embark upon it by coming under the agreement 
with the union. 

And yet, collective bargaining involves an unwelcome 
check upon the power of management to exercise functions 
both legislative and executive. It is for this reason that 
instances are not altogether rare of employers attempting to 
proceed either by individual bargaining with their own em- 
ployes, or by executive order without consulting either the 
people or their representatives. In either event the union 
has recourse to the Trade Board. The former of the two 
modes of procedure named seems to have been followed by 
the employer in a certain case^* in which the union com- 
plained to the Trade Board that the manager of the factory- 
had introduced an "honor system" into the finishing section. 
About fi fteen finishers had been put in a separate class. The 

♦The numbers above the line refer to written decisions of the Trade and 
Arbitratbn Boards, which will be found indexed under the corresponding num- 
bers, i.c., in the order of their citation in the text, in Appendix I. 



> 



202 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

coats of these finishers were not systematically examined as 
were those of the other finishers, though they were examined 
occasionally. The miion claimed that the system was breed- 
ing dissension and jealousy among the girls and was objec- 
tionable from the standpoint of the unity and efficiency of the 
factory as well as the organization. The company replied 
that the arrangement was satisfactory and efficient, tended 
to put a premium on good work, and had occasioned no dis- 
pute or dissension. As an administrative measure, the com- 
pany contended, it was allowable and outside the jurisdiction 
of the Trade Board unless it could be shown that the workers 
were injured thereby. 

In dealing with this problem the Trade Board rested its 
decision upon a precedent established in an earlier case,^ 
where off-pressers had been divided into " honor men " and 
others directly under the control of the examiners. In that 
case the following ruling had been given: " The chairman 
of the Trade Board will not undertake to rule in the matter 
beyond the point of ordering the installation of one com- 
prehensive system, leaving to the company the selection of 
which of the two systems above mentioned it desires to sub- 
stitute for the present scheme." The eflFect of that ruling 
was to require equal treatment for all the workers in the sec- 
tion and to deny the company the right of according prefer- 
ential treatment to some and thereby discriminating against 
others. The company appealed the case to the Board of 
Arbitration, and the chairman ruled as follows: 

*u " V"^- *PP^*^ '* ""^^^ on • ♦ • an aUeged limitation of 
the administrative powers of the company by the Trade Board 
♦ The chairman believes that the administrative power 
remains in the hands of the company to be used by it in the in- 
terest of discipline and efficiency, subject to review by the board 
if invasion of the rights of the worker is charged by the union 
In the present instance, the result of the rule introduced by the 
company designed to promote the efficiency by creating a roll 
of honor seems to have been unfortunate, and to have impaired 
the efficiency of the union by creating dissatisfaction and dis- 
harmony among its members ; and its discontinuance is, there- 
fore, directed. The chairman doubts the wisdom of promoting 



THE POWERS OF MANAGEMENT 203 

efficiency by creating distinctions between workers, and suggests 
that the administrative power of the company might have better 
results if used some other way." 

Having cited the foregoing decision, the Trade Board 
held that " the two cases are quite similar except that the 
complaint of the finishers has not been accompanied by a 
stoppage. The same ruling of the Board of Arbitration 
should apply." The Trade Board accordingly directed that 
the distinction between the finishers be abolished and that 
the system of examination include all the finishers. 

It appears, then, that the employer is limited in his choice 
of means for promoting efficiency to such devices as do not 
create invidious distinctions between workers, or otherwise 
" impair the efficiency of the union ". In another instance^ 
the people complained of the use by the company of a black- 
board to designate publicly pressers who felloflF in their 
quality and amount of work. The union contended that such 
action should not have been taken without consulting the 
people; also that the use of the blackboard for general in- 
structions was not objected to, but the entry of the personal 
numbers or names was intended as public discrimination be- 
tween the men and aroused a just resentment as an unwar- 
ranted form of discipline. The company maintained that 
the board was used simply to promote better efficiency among 
the pressers by distinguishing between good and bad 
pressers, and that it was effective, as the notation 
"No. 2423 had 8 coats returned yesterday," had 
since led to his doing better work. After hearing the 
evidence the Trade Board held that " the use of the black- 
board in giving publicity to names or numbers of pressers 
who fell off in quality or production is objectionable as a 
method of discipline. The element of publicity in such a mat- 
ter is what makes such a practice obnoxious, and undoubt- 
edly led to the shock and resentment described by the wit- 
nesses of the people. ♦ ♦ ♦ The use of the blackboard in 
this respect is a device of questionable usefulness and apt to 
arouse much more opposition and less co-operation in doing 



204 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

the work." Its use was accordingly ordered to be confined 
to general instructions. 

LABOR CONDITIONS 

The point at which the freedom of management to act at 
its own discretion gives way to the more democratic pro- 
cedure of collective bargaining is the point where established 
or customary labor conditions and standards are involved. 
Management is free to organize and reorganize the processes 
of production up to the point where these touch the interests 
of the workers in the form of change in their wages, hours, 
or other conditions of work. Such change can be effected 
only with the approval of the union, subject to appeal to the 
Trade Board. The issue is brought out in respect to work- 
ing hours, or more strictly, the starting hour, in the follow- 
ing case* decided by the Trade Board. The firm in this 
case agreed with its cutters to change to a 10-hour schedule, 
beginning work at 7:30 A. M. instead of 8:00, and counting 
the first half -hour of each day as overtime. The union ob- 
jected to this arrangement, claiming that they could not 
permit to have them put in any overtime before 8 A- M., 
that being the starting hour agreed upon. The firm con- 
tended that it was within the functions of the management 
to decide as to what constitutes a proper starting hour, and 
requested the Trade Board to determine: 

" 1. Whether or not the management may order operations 
begun at its discretion, provided the hour is reasonable. 

"2. What constitutes a reasonable starting hour in the 
morning." 

At the hearing before the Trade Board the union made 
no objection to the starting hour being set at 7:80, if this 
was to be the regular arrangement and consistently applied 
by the firm. It was also agreed between the parties that 
there should be no overtime at the beginning of the day's 
work. There remained, then, only the first question, as to 
the authority of the management to order a change in the 
starting hour. The union maintained that such a matter 



THE POWERS OF MANAGEMENT 205 

must be settled by collective bargaining. In deciding this 
issue. Professor Millis, as chairman of the Trade Board, 
ruled as follows: 

" The question of principle raised in this case is an important 
one. It is a question as to how far the employer may exercise 
his discretion subject only to complaint of unreasonable exer- 
cise, and as to how far matters are to be controlled by collective 
bargaining or, that failing, by decision of an impartial tribunal. 
The Trade Board is of the opinion that needless restrictions 
upon management must be avoided, but that if the agree- 
ment is to operate efSciently, what may be called * Labor Con- 
ditions ' must be determined by collective bargaining. Thus 
the employer may make a change in his equipment without agree- 
ment, the worker having a right to expect an adjustment if the 
^conditions of his work are changed, but a price for the new 
work must be decided upon by collective bargaining before a 
worker may be required to perform it. The question is whe- 
ther the starting hour is a * question of management ' or a 
*' labor condition ' to such an extent that it should be changed 
only by agreement, or in the event of failure to agree, by arbi- 
tration. The Trade Board holds that the starting hour having 
been at 8 o'clock in this case, it should not have been changed 
by executive order • ♦ ♦ " 

In matters that come under the head of " labor conditions " 
and that properly call for collective bargaining and agree- 
ment, the obligation to confer and endeavor to agree rests 
not only on the employer but also on the union. Collective 
bargaining operates as a check upon direct action of either 
party. In such a matter as instituting overtime work, the 
initiative in the Chicago market has customarily lain with 
the management. But if the union for any reason objects 
to overtime being worked, it has recourse first to conference 
and then to the Trade Board. In a case of this character* 
a firm complained of a deputy for prohibiting overtime work 
by the cutters. The firm had instructed its cutters to work 
overtime. The cutters were willing. The shop chairman, 
however, called up the union and the union official prohibited 
the shop chairman from working overtime, thus counter- 
manding the orders of the firm. The firm contended before 
the Trade Board that this action of the deputy tended to 



20G CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

imdennine discipline; that the question of overtime work 
was for it to decide; that the deputy took the law into his 
own hands and did not confer when he thought overtime 
should not be worked ; and that he produced what was in ef- 
fect a stoppage. The deputy gave as one reason for his ac- 
tion, the feeling that some cutters should not work overtime 
while others are unemployed. He advanced the claim of the 
union that overtime is not a right, but a concession willingly 
made by it in the busy season but withheld when there is un- 
employment. Finally, he maintained that if the union official 
issues an order countermanding an order issued by the firm, 
the firm has recourse to the Trade Board. 

In passing on the disputed question of procedure in this 
case, the Trade Board held that " past practice was not far 
from right. The practice has been for the firm to decide 
when it wants overtime work. If its decision is unsatisfac- 
tory to the deputy, he should not issue a countermanding 
order, but should take up the matter in conference with the 
labor manager. If no agreement is arrived at in conference, 
the matter should be taken to the impartial machinery. We 
must not have order and countermanding order. Divergent 
interests are not to be conserved in this way." 

If the scope of collective bargaining is to be co-extensive 
with " labor conditions," it must, of course, include the whole 
question of wage determination and adjustment; for this 
touches most closely the interests of every worker. In our 
later discussion of the adjustment of piece prices and speci- 
fications, it will be made evident that this entire field is one 
for joint control by management and workers' organization. 
Hardly a step can be taken here by the employer without 
either consultation and agreement with union representatives 
or the reserved right of the workers affected to appeal to 
the impartial machinery for review and redress. The pro- 
cedure of coUective bargaining applies, moreover, to in- 
creases in wages as well as to their reduction. This is for 
the reason, abeady suggested, that the interest of all the 
workers and of the market as a whole must be consulted if 
injustice and instability are to be avoided. Individual bar- 



THE POWERS OF MANAGEMENT 207 



gaining may solve a particular employer's problem at a par- 
ticular time with reference to a particular worker or section. 
But it is almost certain to create new problems, if not for 
him, at any rate for other employers and for the union, that 
are not so readily disposed of. 

In a case in point* the union filed complaint with the Trade 
Bo:ird to the effect that the foreman in a certain house had 
violated both the agreement and the Board of Arbitration 
award by inducing a former employee to return to the firm 
by offering to pay her 3 cents for an operation for which 
the established price was 2.4 cents. The union requested the 
Trade Board to instruct the foreman with reference to his 
province. Acting upon the union's request. Chairman Millis 
ruled, in part, as follows: 

^When this foreman bargained to advance the piece rate 
from 2.4 to 8 cents, he acted contrary to the agreement, for 
aU piece rates must be made by collective bargaining. Fore- 
men have no power to change piece prices. It is entirely out of 
their province. Moreover, the foreman's action was in viola- 
tion of the Arbitrator's award (of December, 1919), for the 
award provides that approved piece rates must not be changed 
during the light weight season except upon the Trade Board's 
recommendation and the Arbitration Board's approval. Fur- 
thermore, the action was highly objectionable because it tends 
to beget discontent, instability in the market, and direct action. 
These the manufacturers, the union, and the impartial ma- 
chinery have been trying to remove." 

The same principle holds for increasing the wages of week 
workers. Such increases are to be eflfected through confer- 
ence with the union representative and not by executive au- 
thority. In one instance involving this principle,^ the union 
complained to the Trade Board that a firm had given in- 
creases voluntarily to certain workers, although refusing to 
admit the justice of complaints presented by the union in 
behalf of other workers who were underpaid, for three of 
whom it specifically requested increases. The firm admitted 
having raised the wage of one worker from $27 to $80 with- 
out request from the worker or the deputy. This worker 
was said by the union to have boasted of the fact that she 



V 



208 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

got an increase without asking for it and to have aggravated 
the dissatisfaction of other workers whose requests for in- 
creases had been denied. The union stated that many com- 
plaints had been taken up in behalf of low-paid week workers 
but that practically no increases had been granted by the 
firm ; and the deputy found it highly embarrassing when the 
firm granted increases on its own initiative. The Trade 
Board reaffirmed the rule of collective bargaining to govern 
such cases as this in the following statement: 

" * * * The firm should not place the union in the em- 
barrassing position of seeming to oppose an increase. If it is 
felt that an increase is called for it should be taken up with 
the deputy, who is after all closest to the workers and must 
answertheir complaints. If the workers find that they can get 
more by dealing individually with the firm than by laying their 
complaints before their shop representatives or deputies, effec- 
tive control — without which the agreement is meaningless — will 
be lost. It is as much to the interest of the firm as it is to the 
interest of the workers to see to it that the procedure laid down 
in the agreement for the handling of complaints is adhered to 
strictly. The union has a right to expect that the agreement 
* will operate in such a way as to maintain and strengthen its 
organization so that it may be strong enough to cooperate, as 
contemplated by this agreement, and to command the respect 
of the employer.' " 

The Trade Board then directed the firm to take up with the 
union for further consideration the complaints of the above 
three workers cited in the petition. 

A situation combining some of the features of both of the 
preceding was presented to the Trade Board in another case* 
in which the union complained that the firm had violated the 
spirit of the agreement by individual bargaining, refusing to 
grant an increase on certain work when the union deputy 
took the matter up with the labor department, and later 
grantmg an increase voluntarily after the people had gone 
on strike. In passing judgment on the firm's action in this 
case, the impartial chairman stated: 

" The Trade Board has found it necessary on several occa- 
sions to review individual adjustments made by foremen after 



THE POWERS OF MANAGEMENT 209 

authorized representatives of the workers had failed to secure 
redress. In each case the Board has condemned the practice 
and pointed out its consequences. For the most part the ad- 
justments have been permitted to stand, as a self-imposed 
penalty, in spite of the danger that the workers might be en- 
couraged to resort to direct action to adjust future grievances. 
The increase granted by the foreman in this ca^e is to stand, 
of course. The chairman of the Trade Board would state very 
frankly, moreover, that he would regard action of this sort as 
sufficient ground for discharge if repeated. The firm cannot 
afford to have in its employ a foreman who exercises so little 
judgment on issues of such vital importance. The workers 
complain about their rates. The foreman turns' a deaf ear. 
The deputy attempts to secure an adjustment. The foreman^ 
will not consider it. The^workers strike and the foreman pro- 
ceeds to seek them out and offer them an increase to^come back. 
What respect the workers must have for orderly procedure; 
what confidence in their deputy, under such circumstances ! If, 
one were to attempt dehberately to destroy the agreement and 
break down effective control by the organization, it would be dif- 
ficult to find a more effective way than that followed by the fore- 
man in this case. The Board hopes tHat the organization will 
be at pains to convince the workers that the adjustment is to 
stand not because they forced it by direct action, but as a 
penalty upon the firm for the acts of its foreman.' 



» 



A more common misuse of administrative power on the 
part of management than the increase of wages by executive 
action or individual bargaining, is the attempt to reduce them, 
as a rule indirectly, without the consent of the union. Since 
the wages of piece workers are intimately dependent not 
only on the quality, but also on the nature and the method of 
work required of them, even a slight change introduced in 
any of these will be inmiediately reflected in the workers' 
earnings. Changes in each of these elements of the work 
are being constantly made. The decision as to what these 
changes are to be rests logically with the management, since 
management has the responsibility for styles, sales, and pro- 
duction policy, and must be free to adopt the most efficient 
means for carrying out the policy. But the putting into 
eflFect of the management's decision requires the consent and 
co-operation of the union. The specification embodying the 



i 



210 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

* 

exact definition of the task, no less than the piece-work rate 
corresponding to it, is a matter for joint negotiation and 
agreement. Neither can be imposed on the workers, even 
provisionally, by the management acting on its own initiative. 
Nor, once established by collective bargaining, can rates or 
specifications be altered by administrative action. Changes 
do not become effective until approved by the joint Rate 
Committee, or, on appeal, by the Trade Board. " The firm 
cannot proceed alone " in these matters. 

It follows from these premises that even when a worker's 
operation is reduced, the management is not free to reduce 
his piece rate in the same proportion without first securing 
the consent of the worker's representative to the change. 
Even when the proposed reduction in the operation involves 
Hi^erely the withdrawal of a differential previously established 
by agreement with the union, such a reduction may not be 
put into effect without again being authorized by the repre- 
sentatives of both parties. In an early decision by Mr. Wil- 
liams,^ dealing with this question, it was ordered that ** Any 
claims for such withdrawal should take the course of any 
other change of price and be acted on by the price com- 
mittee before it can take effect." And the principle under- 
lying this procedure was enunciated by him in the following 
much-quoted language: 

*^ Automatic reductions, or reductions by direct or executive 
action, are to be discouraged as creating a sense of injustice and 
wrong. Reductions should not first be made by the company 
' and the onus of proving them wrong placed upon the workers. 
It is clearly the intention of the agreement that no change of 
price or change of work equivcdent to a change of price should 
be made without being submitted to the price committee.^' 

The restriction on the powers of management here laid 
down is dictated not by any desire to limit the employer's 
initiative in matters of economy or of technical improvement. 
Rather is it called for by the necessity of safeguarding 
against impairing the wage and working standards of the 
people on the one hand, and the welfare of the organization 
on the other. And this is possible only by giving them 



THE POWERS OF MANAGEMENT 211 

through their representatives a check upon the action of 
management at every point where changes in price or in 
work are to be introduced. This balanced adjustment be- 
tween administrative initiative and the protection of the 
workers' legitimate interests is the aim and purpose of most 
of the joint machinery, of which the price committee is an 
important part. In the course of the same decision from 
which we have already quoted,* Mr. Williams stated this 
relationship as follows: 

" The company should be free to institute improvement in 
methods of operation; but if the proposed changes are suffi- 
ciently important to impair the earning power of the worker, 
or to give rise to a reasonable belief that it will cause such 
impairment, the change should not be instituted by executive 
order but through the price committee; and if such change 
requires a period of trial before it can be tested and approved, 
the workers shall be paid by the hour during such period of 
trial • • ♦»» 

The freedom of the management to introduce changes, 
however small in its own judgment, is sure to come in con- 
flict sooner or later with the instinctive conservatism of the 
workers, who see in every change in conditions the possibility 
of an attack on their existing standards. The conflict is 
avoided where the workers' interests are safeguarded through 
having the change introduced on terms agreed upon between 
the representatives of both parties. But employers fre- 
quently consider it to their own interest to introduce changes 
by direct action or executive order. This is so, first, because 
it seems a more expeditious method, and secondly, because 
it enables them to reap the full advantage of the innovation. 
Accordingly, the clash of interests occurs at the point where 
the employer proceeds to make practical use of his freedom 
of administrative initiative. In view of the relative waste- 
fulness of hour work, he is under inducement to introduce 
minor changes in work without prior reference of the matter 
to the committeef or to the Trade Board. The result is 
usually resistance on the part of the worker and probably 
of his shop representative. This conflict of authority fre- 



I 



212 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

quently leads to the discharge of the insubordinate worker 
and not rarely, also, to a stoppage of other workers in pro- 
test. Direct action on the part of the management thus 
defeats its own ends. 

CONFLICT OF AUTHORITY 

The problem and the way out are presented concretely 
in the case of S, a " cleaner," who had been discharged for 
demanding hour work when a sUght change was introduced 
in her operation. She had been supported in her demand by 
the shop chairman. The Trade Board ordered her reinstate- 
ment. The company appealed the case, and Chairman Wil- 
liams of the Board of Arbitration made the following 
ruling^® which, on account of its far-reaching import, is here 
quoted at length: 

** In this case the old question of how to avoid friction over 
the introduction of small differentials again arises. The com- 
pany appeals to the board to give a ' decision which will be 
a plain guide as to the right course of action when diflBcult 
questions arise.' It especially wants a ruling that will pre- 
vent conflicts of authority between foreman and chairman, and 
also avoid the wasteful alternative of hour work. 

" The special problem set for the chairman in this appeal is 
this : How can sufficient power be left in the hands of the fore- 
man to permit him to make needed changes in operations, while 
at the same time safeguarding that power so that it can not be 
used to force disadvantageous changes on the workers? 

" Any answer the chairman may make to this question must 
be consistent with decisions previously made, which have become 
part of the working structure of the agreement. Among them 
is this : * Reductions should not first he made by the company 
and the onus of proving them wrong placed upon the workers. 
It is clearly the intention of the agreement that no change of 
price or change of work equivalent to a change of price should 
be made without being submitted to the price committee.' 

" Let us ask what is the occasion of the friction and misun- 
derstanding for which a remedy is asked in this type of cases. 
It is usually a case where the foreman seeks to introduce a 
change of work which he deems trifling and negligible, but which 
the workers think is sufficiently important to require considera- 
tion. Our problem is, therefore, how to proceed when differ- 
ences of this kind arise. 



i 



\ 



li 



THE POWERS OF MANAGEMENT 218 

"The company's solution is that in the interest of efficient 
administration the foreman's power to institute the change 
should be unrestricted, subject to correction later if error is 
found. In reply to this the union contends that to leave this 
unchallengeable power in the hands of the foreman would deprive 
the workers of the protection assured them by the agreement. 
Also, it would upset the entire practice under which we are 
working and to which the people have become educated, and 
would be likely to create far more friction than it would remove. 

"After due consideration, the chairman is of the opinion 
that the worker has an interest in this question of the initiation 
of changes of which he cannot be properly deprived and which 
it would be difficult to adequately safeguard by subsequent 
adjudication. He cannot therefore agree to a solution of the 
difficulty by giving the foreman a free hand in its adjustment. 

" Is there, then, no remedy? Must we continue to endure 
the friction and waste complained of? 

" Clearly, there can be no remedy that ignores the claim of 
the workers. There is no authoritative short cut by which a 
dispute can be settled by the dictum of the foreman. With this 
fact in mind, the chairman has thought over the question with 
the hope of reaching a workable solution. He now submits the 
following : 

" Whenever a change needs to be introduced, which is likely 
to give rise to objection or dispute, the foreman should take 
steps to have it authorized by the representative of the workers, 
who should at the same time see that their interests in the matter 
are safeguarded. The union member of the price committee 
should attend to the call as promptly as practicable. After 
hearing the nature of the change proposed, he should, if con- 
sistent with justice and just claim of the workers, direct the 
section to proceed with the work pending the formal disposition 
of the matter by the price committee. The chairman recom- 
mends that hour work be not insisted on except where neces- 
sary to get work done and there is no other practicable way 
to compensate the worker. It is hoped that a friendly con- 
ference between representatives of the company and of the 
union would result in the adjustment of disputed points and in 
the prevention of delay, of friction, and of needless hour work. 

" It is obvious that such a proceeding as is here recommended 
would be void of useful results unless both parties are animated 
by the desire to be mutually helpful and are free from petty 
arrogance and pride of power. The chairman does not impose 
it as a new interpretation, or a new order, but as a helpful sug- 
gestion of how to use the powers already implicit in the agree- 



r> 



814 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

ment and in daily use in other directions, to solve the vexatious 
questions attending the adjustment of small variations and 
changes of work. 

** The decision of the Trade Board in regard to the reinstate- 
ment of S is affirmed." 

The issue involved in a change of work introduced by 
order of the management may be more than a question of 
price on the new work. It may be the customary right of 
the worker to his operation, his vested interest in the work 
itself. Ordinarily, the employer is the best judge of the 
value from the standpoint of efficiency of a proposed change 
in the method of organization of work in his factory. But 
the standpoint of efficiency alone cannot be decisive if it 
conflicts seriously with the interests of the workers as guar- 
anteed or implied in the agreement. For then the innova- 
tion is certain to create enough discontent and resentment on 
the workers' part to make of it — apart from its injustice — 
a wasteful rather than an economical step. It is, therefore, 
necessary that the union should exercise a check upon the 
power of management to introduce changes in work by ex- 
ecutive action. This applies particularly to such changes in 
work as menace the rights and interests of the workers, over 
and above the inunediate question of pay. To provide this 
protection to the workers against unfavorable changes in 
the character and conditions of their work, they have the 
right of having disputed changes in specifications as well 
as in prices passed upon not only by the union representative 
on the price conunittee but in case of disagreement also 
by the impartial machinery. The agreement provides, as 
follows, when dissatisfaction arises over change of price 
or working conditions : " It is believed that the agreement 
provides a remedy for every such grievance that can arise, 
and all complainants are urged and expected to present 
their cases to the proper officials and await an adjustment 
* * *." One type of problem to which this general pro- 
vision refers is exemplified and constructively dealt with in 
the following case," decided by the Board of Arbitration in 
June, 1915: 



THE POWERS OF MANAGEMENT 215 

The company in this case decided to combine the work of 
sewing collar pieces with the work of armhole basting, thus 
uniting the work of two sections, and asked the Trade Board 
to fix a price for the joint operation. The Trade Board 
held that the agreement did not require the armhole basters 
to do the work of sewing collar pieces. The company ap- 
pealed on the ground that the board had exceeded its author- 
ity in limiting the power of the company to either combine 
or subdivide sections, and asked for an order requiring the 
board to fix a price for the work described in the speci- 
fications. 

The union replied that the work of these two sections was 
in several ways incompatible; that it would work hardship 
on the armhole basters, compensation for. whom could not be 
equitably calculated; and that while it irremediably injured 
the armhole basters, the joining of the two sections would 
give no appreciable advantage to the company, either in 
economy or efficiency. 

Chairman Williams thereupon recorded his opinion, as 
follows: 

"The real issue involved in this case is not so much the obli- 
gation of the Trade Board to ^x a price on any given specifica- 
tions, as the question of the conditions under which the com- 
pany may exercise its right of uniting sections. This right, 
like others not specifically limited by the agreement, inheres in 
the company ; but it is to be exercised in such manner as not to 
infringe on the rights of the workers. If they consider their 
rights invaded they may file their complaint in the regular man- 
ner and the case shall be adjudicated in the usual way ♦ * * 

"The company takes the position that it is obligatory on 
the Trade Board to ^x a price on any specifications submitted, 
and that it is debarred from passing on the rightfulness of any 
such specifications by virtue of Section D of the general rules 
which is as follows : * Whenever a change of price is contem- 
plated the specifications shall be submitted to the Trade Boarc^^ 
and the specifications with the prices fixed therefor shall be 
certified to the firm by the chairman of the board.' 

'*The chairman (of the Board of Arbitration) is of the 
opinion that it was intended in this clause to confer the power 
on the Trade Board to fix and certify prices whenever a ' change 
of price ' was contemplated ; but that it was not intended to 



216 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

deny the power of the board to pass on the rightfulness of 
specifications if it appeared that the specifications worked such 
injury to the workers that it could not be remedied in making 
the price. 

'^ The chairman is mindful of the necessity of giving the com- 
pany the widest possible freedom of administration consistent 
with the rights of the workers as provided for by the spirit and 
purpose of the agreement, and due care should be exercised not 
to hamper that freedom unless it is clearly necessary to do so 
to protect the rights of the workers. 

** The effort to sharply demarcate the rights and powers of 
the parties is always difficult, and usually accompanied by strain 
and tension and is provocative of iU-will and bad feeling. 
Whenever a change is sought to be introduced by the company 
calculated to raise the question of rights and powers, the chair- 
man strongly urges that the matter be discussed in advance 
with representatives of the union, and, if necessary, with the 
chairman of the Trade Board, to the end that an agreement 
be arrived at and the strain and bitterness caused by a conflict 
about authority be avoided. 

'* In the appraisal of the facts in the present case, the chair- 
man sees no reason to believe that the Trade Board has erred, 
and its decision with respect to the disposition of the case under 
consideration stands ♦ ♦ ♦ " 

The rights and powers of management relating to the 
introduction by executive order of changes in work are, in 
practice, narrowly limited. They are limited not only by the 
demonstrable effect of such changes upon the immediate 
earning power of the workers concerned. They are limited 
also by the psychological effect upon these workers as mani- 
fested in dissatisfaction or resentment on their part against 
the change. Thus, where the people are on a week-work 
basis and therefore not at all affected in their present earn- 
ings by the innovation in their work, they may nevertheless 
offer strenuous resistance to a technical improvement whose 
future effect on unemployment they fear. This fear tends 
to be excited by any change in the usages or customary 
methods of work, and it can only be allayed by such assur- 
ances against eventual injury to their interests as the union 
may be in a position to give to its members. The principle 
of joint procedure, as we have seen, had been estabhshed 



THE POWERS OF MANAGEMENT 217 

by Mr. Williams for situations involving resistance of 
workers to administrative changes on grounds of impairment 
of earnings. In the following decision^^ by Mr. Tufts a 
similar principle was recommended for meeting the issue of 
executive freedom of management where other interests of 
workers are involved. 

The case turned on the question as to the right of the 
firm to issue executive orders, changing certain methods of 
management, or usages, which were held by the people to 
be established as shop usages or standards. The particular 
instance before the Trade Board had been the case of a man 
who had refused to obey an executive order by which the 
height of the lay in the case of felt in the trimming room may 
be in certain cases one hundred high instead of ninety. The 
firm contended that irrespective of the merits of the par- 
ticular order in question, the general principle is funda- 
mental, namely, that the firm has the right to give an ex- 
ecutive order which is not in violation of the agreement and 
that complaint of such order should be brought before the 
Trade Board in the method provided. The union contended 
that the method of effecting changes in established usages 
by executive order is calculated to produce friction and 
unnecessary irritation and that it would be a better method 
to take up such matters in advance with the representative of 
the union. 

The Board of Arbitration, to whom the Trade Board re- 
ferred the case, found that 

" An earlier ruling laid down a principle for changes which 
affect the earning power of the worker, in which it used the 
following language: * The company should be free to institute 
improvement in methods of operation; but if the proposed 
changes are sufficiently important to impair the earning power 
of the worker, or to give rise to a reasonable belief that it will 
cause such impairment, the change should not be instituted by 
executive order, but through the price committee.' The present 
case as to the height of the lay does not seem to fall under 
this ruling because the trimmers are on the week work plan. 
Nevertheless the Board believes that in cases where there is no 
emergency requiring immediate action, and where there is 






218 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

serious interference with established standards, it would be de- 
sirable to proceed through expert commissions on which both 
sides are represented. Such commissions are already in exist- 
ence in the price committee and the cutters' commission. The 
Board believes that it would be well to experiment with other 
similarly constituted bodies. The Board will not proceed fur- 
ther than to advise the Trade Board to appoint a commission 
to investigate the problem. After experimentation with expert 
commissions and with other methods which the company has 
under consideration, it may be possible to give a decision which 
shall be more general in character." 

The criteria set up by the decision for determining in a 
given situation whether or not management may exercise its 
administrative powers to introduce a technical improvement, 
are, first, the existence of an emergency, and, secondly, the 
maintenance of established standards. Under these condi- 
tions only, management may proceed to inaugurate the 
change, leaving the workers free to resort to the impartial 
machinery if they feel their interests jeopardized. 

As a rule, however, changes are of such a nature that with 
a spirit of forbearance on both sides, their application can 
be effected without injury to any interest. A situation 
exemplifying the need of mutual accommodation in these 
matters is presented in the case^' of four finishers discharged 
for refusal to call for supplementary coupons on cuffs on 
overcoats. The deputy had refused to approve the use of the 
coupons and had asked that the matter be put over for con- 
sideration by the price committee or the Trade Board, neither 
of which would be available for a couple of days. The chair- 
man of the Trade Board ordered the reinstatement of the 
workers with pay for lost time. The company appealed the 
case to the Board of Arbitration, and Chairman Millis ruled 
as follows: 

" Cases of this kind should be and can easily be avoided by 
proper cooperation. The loss to workers from the use of the 
coupons would be negligible ♦ ♦ ♦ The deputy could well 
have been guided by Mr. Williams' advice in case 298, where he 
said: * The chairman is mindful of the necessity of giving the 
company the widest possible freedom of administration, etc' 
If, however, the deputy was of the opinion that the use of the 



THE POWERS OF MANAGEMENT 219 

coupons would involve the workers in a material loss, he could 
well have cooperated in the absence of the company's price man 
and the chairman of the Trade Board, by permitting the use 
of the coupons and then asking for a revision of price, this to be 
retroactive, 

**0n the other hand, there was no emergency which would 
call for such action as the company took. A similar matter 
had been up before and the coupons were not used after com- 
plaint was made by the deputy. The deputy complained in 
this case and the matter could easily have awaited considera- 
tion by the Trade Board as suggested in case 364 (* Whenever 
a change needs to be introduced which is likely to give rise to 
objection or dispute, etc' see p. 207). There was no need 
to proceed in such a manner as to cause workers to refuse to 
obey orders, as they certainly would after they knew the deputy 
had objected to what it was proposed to do ♦ * ♦ " 

And the chairman ordered that the company should pay 
for half the time lost by the workers. 

Any change in work that involves no irremediable injury 
to the worker's interests is expected to be accepted by him 
pending an adjustment of price by the committee. To quote 
again from a section of the agreement already referred to, 
" All complainants are urged and expected to present their 
cases to the proper officials and await an adjustment. If 
anyone refuses to do this, and, instead, takes the law in his 
own hands, by inciting a stoppage or otherwise foments dis- 
satisfaction or rebellion, he shall, if convicted, be adjudged 
guilty of disloyalty to the agreement and be subject to dis- 
cipline by the Trade Board." This procedure represents the 
obligation of the worker corresponding to his right to chal- 
lenge the management's use of its administrative power in 
introducing changes in work. A case" partially illustrating 
the principle is the following: 

A finisher was discharged for refusing to sew on a hanger 
to a coat after the coat had been cleaned. The circumstances 
of the case were these : A few coats had come through with- 
out hangers and labels and had been taken care of by the 
finishers without objection. But by some oversight an un- 
usual number came that week and the matter became at once 
of some significance to the finishers as the increase in the 



220 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 



THE POWERS OF MANAGEMENT 221 



. I 



number of garments without hangers naturally increased the 
work of the finishers. The chairman of the Trade Board 
held that " Under the circumstances the girl should have con- 
tinued to do the work as formerly and brought complaint for 
additional work by reason of the disproportionate increase of 
garments with shortages of hangers or labels/' And the 
Board directed the reinstatement of the girl without back 
pay. 

The interests immediately at stake whenever a change is 
introduced are two. On one hand, there is the employer's 
interest in making improvements with the least possible fric- 
tion or interruption in production, and over against it is the 
worker's interest in maintaining his wage standards and other 
rights against infringement. The task of the joint machin- 
ery, price committee and Trade Board, is to conserve both of 
these interests. In many trivial changes, at least, no ir- 
reparable harm accrues to the worker by accepting them pro- 
visionally or under protest imtil his claim can be adjusted. 
For this reason the Trade Board has ruled^* that in case of 
dispute as to whether there is change of work of importance, 
the worker should do the work and bring complaint for reim- 
bursement. In such cases the management seems to be the 
judge of the dispute, subject to review and reversal by the 
Trade Board. 

When a change of work is occasioned by a defect in the 
material for which the management is responsible, the worker 
is not under the same obligation to proceed with the work 
pending an adjustment. Such change in work, not being 
instituted in the interest of efficiency or technical improve- 
ment, does not fall within the legitimate scope of the admin- 
istrative powers of management. Nevertheless, this does not 
mean that the agreement sanctions stoppages or any inter- 
ruptions of work in such cases. The rights and duties of the 
parties in a situation of this sort are illustrated by the dis- 
position reached in the following case^*: The question at 
issue was whether or not the shop trimmers in a certain house 
could be required to cut imperfectly perforated coupon 
sheets or whether the company must make separations in such 



cases just as it cares for other defects and shortages. The 
Trade Board, reinstating one of the trimmers suspended for 
insubordination, ruled as follows on the question: " The 
trinuners were not required by specification or by practice to 
use their shears in separating the sections of the coupon 
cards. It is admitted that some of the cards were not prop- 
erly perforated. Under the circumstances, the trimmers 
seem to have followed the usual procedure where defective 
work or shortages appear. They referred the defect to the 
examiner, as they would any other defect or shortage. He 
should have taken care of these defective cards." 

The company appealed from this ruling of the Trade 
Board, setting forth its position, in part, as follows : " The 
company concedes the right of any employe to make com- 
plaint according to the rules of procedure and to be heard 
by the Trade Board in case he is not satisfied with the adjust- 
ment of the labor department * * ♦." The chairman of 
the Board of Arbitration in upholding the decision of the 
Trade Board, refused to lay down any general rule of pro- 
cedure for cases of this type, but dealt with the particular 
problem before him. " If the trimmers followed the usual 
practice of referring defective work and shortages to the 
examiner, and if the coupon sheets were unusually bad, both 
of which were established as facts to the satisfaction of the 
Trade Board, the Chairman finds no fault with the ruling 
from which appeal is taken. He makes the observation that 
it is undesirable to handle matters in such a way as to make 
Trade Board litigation necessary. If there was dispute as 
to what the trimmers were required to do, it could have been 
placed before the price committee for immediate decision. 
The holding up of the work or the placing of the trimmers on 
hour work could have been avoided by having someone do 
the cutting required on the improperly perforated coupons." 

The right of the workers to request diflFerentials in price 
with changes in their work, however slight, is in practice un- 
limited. In the case cited below an unsuccessful attempt to 
limit it was made by an employer. In this case", the Trade 
Board ruled that a differential requested by the union in 



m 



222 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

behalf of certain sleeve makers was warranted by the diffi- 
culty of handling the shady goods, and referred the pricing 
of such a differential to the members of the rate-making com- 
mittee. The case was appealed by the company, and the 
chairman of the Board of Arbitration entered the following 
ruling: 

" The essential principle involved in these • ♦ ♦ cases is 
* * * in effect an assertion on the part of the company that 
trifling variations in operation are made the ground for asking 
that differentials be aUowed, causing an excessive draft on the 
time of the price committee, increasing the amount of hour work 
unnecessarily, and interfering with the free flow of work through 
the sections. As a remedy, it suggests that a minimum line 
of variation be established, below which no claim for differen- 
tials shall be entertained. 

" The union contends that no such frequency of claims for 
differentials exists as is represented by the company; that the 
total number of such cases in the past year can be counted on 
the fingers of one hand; and that it is not possible to modify 
the present practice without depriving the union of safeguards 
necessary to protect the rights of the workers. 

" The chairman after listening to a long and searching dis- 
cussion of the points involved in this controversy, finds himself 
unable to propose any remedy that he feels sure would be an 
improvement on the present system. Price fixing is a difficult 
art. We cannot expect it to be 100% perfect, and it is a 
matter of never-ending surprise and admiration that our price 
committee gets such excellent results as it does. The chairman, 
for the present, prefers to leave the curing of any avoidable 
defects in the system to the expert skill and intelligence of the 
price committee rather than take the chance of making it worse 
by any crude device that he can invent. He hopes thev will 
continue their patient and efficient cooperation, that they will 
continue their efforts to reduce hour work and litigation to a 
minimum, and do all in their power to so perfect the system of 
price making that all reason for complaint may be removed and 
that the proper interests of both parties may be safeguarded. 
He believes it wisest, however, to leave the power to bring these 
ends to pass where the Trade Board has left them, in the hands 
of the Price Committee itself." 



Prof. Harry A. Millis, 

Chairman, Trade Board, Wliolesale 

Clothiers, etc., 1919-1920 
Chairman, Board of Arbitration, 

1920- 




James Mullenbach, 
Chairman, Trade 
Board, Hart, Schaff- 
ner and Marx, 1912- 



Prof, James H. Tufts, 

Chairman, Board of Arbitration, 
1919-1920 



222 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

behalf of certain sleeve makers was warranted by the diffi- 
culty of handling the shady goods, and referred the pricing 
of such a diflferential to the members of the rate-making com- 
mittee. The case was appealed by the company, and the 
chairman of the Board of Arbitration entered the following 
ruling: 

" The essential principle involved in these • • ♦ cases is 
* * * in effect an assertion on the part of the company that 
trifling variations in operation are made the ground for asking 
that differentials be allowed, causing an excessive draft on the 
time of the price committee, increasing the amount of hour work 
unnecessarily, and interfering with the free flow of work through 
the sections. As a remedy, it suggests that a minimum hne 
of variation be established, below which no claim for differen- 
tials shall be entertained. 

" The union contends that no such frequency of claims for 
differentials exists as is represented by the company; that the 
total number of such cases in the past year can be counted on 
the fingers of one hand; and that it is not possible to modify 
the present practice without depriving the union of safe^ards 
necessary to protect the rights of the workers. 

" The chairman after hstening to a long and searchint/ dis- 
cussion of the points involved in this controversy, finds hmiself 
unable to propose any remedy that he feels sure would be an 
improvement on the present system. Price fixing is a difficult 
art. We cannot expect it to be lOO^o perfect, and it is a 
matter of never-ending surprise and admiration that our price 
committee gets such excellent results as it does. The chairman, 
for the present, prefers to leave the curing of any avoidable 
defects in the system to the expert skill and intelligence of the 
price committee rather than take the chance of making it worse 
by any crude device that he can invent. He hopes thev will 
continue their patient and efficient cooperation, that thev will 
continue their efforts to reduce hour work and litigation to a 
minimum, and do all in their power to so perfect the system of 
price making that all reason for complaint may be removed and 
that the proper interests of both parties may be safegruarded. 
He believes it wisest, however, to leave the power to brin^/ these 
ends to pass where the Trade Board has left them, in the hands 
of the Price Committee itself." 



Prof. Harry A. Millis, 

('hainnan. Trade Board, Wholesale 

Clothiers, etc., 1919-19-2() 
Cliairniaii, Board of Arbitration, 

1920- 




Janies Mullenbach, 
C h a i r m a n. Trade 
Board, Hart, Schaff- 
ner and Marx, 1912- 



Prof. James H. Tufts, 

Chairnian, Board of Arbitration, 
1919-1920 



THE POWERS OF MANAGEMENT 223 

JOINT PROCEDURE 

Changes in work and in methods of work vary greatly as 
to the circumstances under which they are introduced and as 
to the manner and degree in which they affect the interests of 
the workers concerned. As a consequence, it is not practi- 
cable to define once for all the powers of management and 
the procedure to be followed in giving effect to such changes. 
Hard and fast rules or principles laid down in advance can- 
not but fail to meet complex situations that were not to be 
foreseen. For this reason, if for no other, it is of the essence 
of justice to leave wide room for joint discussion and negotia- 
tion between the representatives of both sides. Whenever a 
dispute arises in relation to any particular change proposed 
by the management, the mere fact of the dispute, whether or 
not the grievance be a real one, calls for conference and an 
understanding. It is the danger signal indicating that the 
workers' interests are menaced or at least in need of safe- 
guarding against the administrative initiative of the manage- 
ment. And the facts of whether those interests are actually 
endangered and how they are to be protected, have to be de- 
termined in each particular situation anew. Hence the need 
of a continuously functioning joint machinery, like the price 
committee, to deal concretely with every case of disputed 
authority as it arises. 

The encroachment of workers' control upon the sphere of 
management takes two general forms. On one side is the 
restrictive or negative type of control, which is aimed at limit- 
mg the freedom of administrative action of management at 
those points where it comes into open conflict with the rights 
and interests of workers. On the other side, there is the 
positive or constructive tendency in the movement for work- 
ers' control. This is marked by the intervention of the work- 
ers' representatives in the counsels of management before the 
conflict of interests reaches the point of open breach. In 
other words, the initiation of a change in the conditions of 
work or pay is in this case not effected by executive action 
subject to review and reversal. Rather, it is the result of 



224 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

joint discussion or collective bargaining and agreement be- 
tween the parties or, failing this, of adjudication bj the 
impartial machinery. The terms and conditions under which 
the intended change is to take eflPect are stipulated before- 
hand and are such as to safeguard all the essential interests 
involved. Furthermore, they have legal status under the 
agreement and are enforcible under its authority. 

By way of illustration, the decision by Mr. Williams in 
the following case** throws light upon the conditions under 
which even so relatively innocent a device as the substitution 
of hour- work for piece-work may be resorted to by executive 
action of the management when a change in work is enacted, 
and under what other conditions such a change must first be 
authorized by the price committee or the Trade Board. In 
this case a question arose over the division by the company of 
the payment of a button-hole operation, which involved the 
paying of part of it on hour-work, and part on piece-work. 
The union complained that the more lucrative part of the 
operation was put on hour-work, while the less lucrative was 
kept on piece-work, thus reducing the average earning power 
on the whole operation. It also contended that the company 
was not entitled to change a price fixed by the price com- 
mittee, by administrative action, but was required to re- 
submit it to the price conmMttee if it desired a change. The 
company explained that in this case the price committee was 
otherwise occupied when the change was sought, and it had 
recourse to hour-work as the fairest way to dispose of the 
matter while the conmiittee was busy elsewhere. It held, 
further, that it had of right the option of substituting hour- 
work for piece-work whenever, in its judgment, it seemed 
advisable, and, accordingly, it was justified in making the 
change in question. 

The Board of Arbitration observed that the point in dis- 
pute was not specifically covered either in the agreement or 
in previous decisions. And in order to avoid future disputes 
it gave out the following interpretation of the rights of man- 
agement under the agreement: 



THE POWERS OF MANAGEMENT 225 



** 1 . The right of the company to substitute hour work for 
piece work is intended to apply to periods of change before the 
price committee has had opportunity to fix a legal price. 

^* 2. After the price committee has fixed a price it cannot be 
changed by executive action of the company, but must be re« 
submitted to the price committee or Trade Board, except as 
follows : 

^ 8. In case of a substantial change in the conditions which 
calls for a readjustment of the price, the company shall give 
notice to the chairman of the Trade Board that it intends to 
ask for a readjustment of the price, and desires to introduce 
hour-work. 

** 4. The chairman of the Trade Board shall proceed 
promptly to take suitable action, and shall in his discretion be 
authorized to put in hour work or institute a temporary piece 
work price if the regular price committee is unable to act with 
sufficient expedition. 

** 6. After a price has been made by the Committee, it shall 
go into effect on the morning of the second day following." 

A more drastic use of administrative power by the em- 
ployer, where joint or co-operative procedure was indicated 
by the agreement is exhibited in the following notable deci- 
sion by the Trade Board.^* The union in this case com- 
plained that the people were kept waiting in the shop when 
there was no work, and the manager refused to grant them 
passes; also that hour- work had been withdrawn and the 
manager was attempting to compel the people to work at 
piece-work rates on operations not in their section. 

The company admitted that orders had been issued requir- 
ing individuals who are in one-man sections to remain in the 
shop, as the operation of the shop depended on their attend- 
ance; but the company claimed that oflfers had been made to 
these one-man sections to combine them and so provide work 
sufficient for these individuals. The company objected to 
hour-work, asserting that it is only a bonus system, involving 
allowances to piece-workers which they do not earn. The 
company was seeking to reduce hour-work to a minimum. 

The union contended that these orders violated the agree- 
ment in two ways : ( 1 ) In respect to the provision regarding 
" detention in the shop," which reads: 



226 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

" Workers shall not be detained in the shops when there is 
insufficient work for them. The company or its agent shaU 
exercise due foresight in calculating the work available, and as 
far as practicable shall call only enough workers into the fac- 
tory to do the work in sight. And if a greater number report 
for work than there is work for, those in excess of the number 
required shall be promptly notified and permitted to leave the 
shop. The work on hand shall be divided as equally as may be 
between the remaining workers. The company and the deputies 
have agreed to cooperate together to abolish all unnecessary 
waiting in the shops." 

And (2) a change of work was ordered contrary to the rul- 
ing of the Board of Arbitration: " Automatic reductions or 
reductions by direct or executive action, are to be dis- 
couraged, etc." 

The question in this case turned on whether the company 
was within its rights under the agreement when it sent out 
the order to reduce hour- work to a minimum; to grant no 
passes to workers in one-man sections ; and to order sections 
to be combined. In ruhng on the question, Chairman Mul- 
lenbach held as follows: 

" The order to refuse passes to workers who have no work 
and require them either to sit in the shops idle or accept work 
on terms fixed solely by the company's officials is contrary to 
both provisions cited above. The provision as to ' Detention 
in the shop ' clearly intends to reduce waiting in the shop to a 
minimum, and this was to be done by cooperation between the 
company and the deputies. But in the present instance no 
cooperation was attempted. An executive order requiring wait- 
ing in the shop without work was sent out. The ruling of the 
Board of Arbitration (cited above), states that * It is clearly 
the intention of the agreement that no change of price or change 
of work equivalent to a change of price should be made without 
being submitted to the Price Committee.' There is no question 
that there was a * change of work equivalent to a change of 
price ' in respect to these one-man sections, and that such a 
change should not have been made until the Rate Committee 
had taken the matter up. 

" Under the circumstances the Trade Board rules that the 
status quo prior to the order be restored * * * , and that 
the matter of any readjustment be referred to the Rate Commit- 
tee for consideration." 



THE POWERS OF MANAGEMENT 227 

The line between the proper spheres of the employer's 
executive jurisdiction and of workers' rights and interests is 
often a narrow and indefinite one. It is, therefore, all the 
more essential that in matters likely to affect these rights and 
interests the management should proceed with caution and 
restraint. This means, practically speaking, some form of 
joint or constitutional procedure. Joint procedure not only 
defines the workers' rights and interests in a given situation 
in the light of the agreement ; it also protects those interests 
against invasion, and consequently prevents a sense of wrong 
and resentment such as resulted from direct action by man- 
agement in the case reported above. Nor is the reaction of 
the workers always limited to rebellious feeling, held in 
check, as in this case, by union discipline. Often enough it 
finds expression in stoppages, which merely complicate the 
difliculty. Such was the result in the following case^^ where 
an official of the management exceeded his authority and 
thereby provoked a stoppage. 

The union in this case complained that the management 
(examiner) changed the stitch of the Wilson machines and 
caused the workers to lose time. The union asked for pay 
for lost time and a fine on the management for violation of 
the agreement. The company admitted that the change of 
stitch was improperly made, but denied that the people had 
any valid claim for redress, as they stopped work and tried 
to secure redress through direct action. The union also con- 
tended that the company violated the agreement in adjusting 
the machines and requiring a finer stitch without calling on 
the Rate Committee to revise the specification. The com- 
pany admitted that the examiner had no right under the 
agreement to alter the stitch, nor did he have any authority 
from his ranking officers to make the change. It was done 
on his own initiative. The Trade Board ordered a week's 
lay-off for the examiner as penalty for the unauthorized 
alteration of the stitch and as a warning against similar 
action by agents of the company. 

In this case, it appears, the action of the official in changing 
the work of the machine operators was doubly arbitrary. On 



228 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

one hand it was taken without the sanction of the general 
management of the factory, which should at least have been 
consulted. On the other hand, it was taken without the pre- 
vious knowledge or consent of the workers' representative, 
and as such constituted a violation of the agreement. If the 
change had been in itself a legitimate one, as claimed by the 
examiner, it could have been effected without friction by 
way of the regular procedure of conference and joint 
authorization. 






CHAPTER XI 

DISCIPLINE AND DISCHARGE 

If we look back at the condition of the workers in the 
Chicago clothing shops in the year 1910, we find in the 
larger establishments that the power of discipline and dis- 
charge was lodged in the hands of foremen. As these men 
had generally risen from the ranks and felt keenly their 
power over the rest of the workers in the shop, it was not 
strange that abuses of authority should be frequent and 
tyrannical treatment common. Not only were workers laid 
off or discharged by the foreman without a chance to be 
heard in their own defense, but that petty autocrat was 
wont to impose fines and deductions, to order overtime work, 
to cut piece rates, or even to lock out his workers, with a 
free hand. Foremen were usually selected for other quali- 
ties than those of personal refinement or respect for workers' 
rights. Many of them were typical bullies and of low moral 
sensibilities. With women and young girls constituting at 
least half of the people under them, some of these foremen 
did not scruple to subject the more defenseless workers to 
brutal insults and indignities. They were able to do so with 
impunity, for at that time the workers had no effective re- 
dress against mistreatment at the hands of their " superiors." 
It was abuses of this sort that in their cumulative effect pre* 
cipitated the great strike of 1910-11, thereby compelling 
consideration of the fundamental defects of the autocratic 
r^;ime in the clothing industry. One of the few provisions 
embodied in the resulting peace pact between the firm of 
Hart, Schaffner and Marx and its employes limited the 
company's right of discharge from that time forth by the 
obligation not to discriminate against members of the union 
— even where these had taken an active part in the conduct 
of the strike. 

That obligation, however, was merely voluntary on the 






230 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

part of the company and was predicated upon its good-will 
alone. There was no power, as yet, on the side of the union 
to compel its observance in practice. As a matter of fact, 
the company maintained through its employment department 
a system of classification of all its employes, grading them 
as A, B and C, according to their previous record in its shop 
and re-employing them only in this order of preference. 
Thus the firm practiced an indirect, though none the less 
effective, discrimination against those of its former employes 
who had for whatever reason earned the classification of C. 
If, then, a worker was refused re-employment or was re- 
employed and subsequently discharged by the firm, he might, 
theoretically, appeal his case to the newly-established Board 
of Arbitration. But the burden of proof of discrimination 
on account of union membership was upon himself, not upon 
the employer. 

A survey of the growth of union control in this field, as 
it is recorded in the decisions of the Trade Board, and the 
Board of Arbitration, shows three main lines of progress. 
In the first place, extensive inroads have been made upon the 
employer's traditional power of discipline and discharge, a 
considerable share of this power having come to be lodged in 
the impartial machinery. From this transfer of power there 
have followed two other developments of importance: (a) 
the adaptation of disciplinary measures, both as to kind and 
degree, to the objective needs of the situation; that is to say, 
the elimination of arbitrary and of drastic penalties against 
workers. And (b) the coming of foremen and other repre- 
sentatives of management — and incidentally also of the union 
in the shop — under the sway of law and discipline as ad- 
ministered by the Trade Board. 

In the second place, there has been a widening of the circle 
of rights for the worker and a growing up of guaranties 
protecting him in the exercise of these rights without fear of 
discipline or discharge. From being virtually a rightless 
" wage-servant " whose tenure of his job was dependent on 
the pleasure of the employer and whose liberty of action on 
the job was equally precarious, the worker has come to oc- 



DISCIPLINE AND DISCHARGE 



231 



cupy something of the status of a citizen in the industry, with 
a voice in its management wherever his own interests are in- 
volved, and with definitely recognized rights over against 
the employer. 

The third line of advance toward control has been in the 
direction of increasing participation by the union in the main- 
tenance of shop discipline and morale. Once feared and 
fought by the employers as the great menace to discipline 
in the old autocratic sense, the union has gradually become 
one of the most potent factors, if not the mainstay, of law 
and order in the shop. It has become an indispensable ally 
of management in the task of securing the willing co-opera- 
tion of the workers in the industry, that has superseded the 
enforced co-operation under the old regime of fear and hate. 
And along with its enlarging responsibilities for the discip- 
line of the shop, the union has acquired corresponding rights 
and privileges, that have, in turn, contributed to its growth 
both in numbers and in solidarity, and made of it a powerful 
force working toward self-government in the industry. 

LIMITATION OF THE EMPLOYER'S DISCIPLINARY 

POWER 

Prior to the growth of organization among the clothing 
workers, the employers were unrestricted in their choice of 
means to make their authority prevail in the shop. Nor were 
they over-squeamish in their use of this power. Apart, how- 
ever, from the free resort to discharge and other penalties on 
every occasion, the galling thing about the system was rather 
the possibility if not always the fact of petty tyranny and 
oppression by foremen and executives generally. Personal 
favoritism on one hand and discrimination, amounting even 
to persecution, on the other, characterized the relations of 
those in power toward the rest. 

A favorite whip wielded by the employers over the people 
was discharge. Discharge is, in general, the extreme form 
of punishment for a worker. It means for him not only a 
temporary cutting off from his livelihood, but a brand that 



232 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 



DISCIPLINE AND DISCHARGE 



233 



II 



in many cases closed against him other doors where employ- 
ment might be fomid. The discharge penalty is particularly 
severe at times when there is a dearth of work in the trade, 
or, what comes to the same thing, a surplus of labor seeking 
jobs. It is just at such times, however, that the employer is 
under the greatest inducement to apply this penalty on sUght 
provocation, since it affords him a convenient method of 
" weeding out " the insubordinate, inefficient, or otherwise 
undesirable individuals in his employ. And if need be, he 
experiences no difficulty at such times in filling their places 
with more willing workers from the street. 

This conservatively outlines the tendencies with reference 
to discharge which had free sway in the industry until the 
union grew strong enough to counteract them. It accom- 
plished this object of control over discharge not, as in New 
York, by prohibiting it and thereby laying up against itself 
for the future the grievances and resentment of the employer. 
The method in Chicago was that of entrusting to the impar- 
tial machinery the function of reviewing the disciplinary acts 
of the employer, of testing these by the principle of the pref- 
erential shop, and allowing it gradually to absorb to itself a 
large share of power in the entire matter. 

The effect of the union upon the kind and degree of penal- 
ties imposed upon workers by their employers makes itself 
felt directly through the Trade Board. But the mere knowl- 
edge that any act of discipline may be appealed by the worker 
affected, through the union to this tribunal, operates as a 
check upon the employer's free use of his power. Notwith- 
standing this check, however, many instances of discharge 
occur which, on being brought to the Trade Board for review, 
lead to reinstatement of the worker and the substitution of 
other, usually lighter, forms of penalty. In illustration of 
this moderating influence exerted by the impartial machinery 
upon shop discipline, we may cite the case*^ of R, a cutter, 
whose discharge had been ordered as a result of several seri- 
ous mistakes in his work following repeated complaints on 
account of poor work. He had, however, immediately called 
the attention of the foreman to one of the mistakes, thus 



frankly acknowledging responsibility for it. In considera- 
tion of this fact the chairman of the Trade Board ordered 
the cutter's reinstatement, leaving him the loss of his wages 
for the two weeks elapsed since his discharge as a penalty to 
insure greater care on his part in the future. 

There are other conditions that may operate as extenuat- 
ing circumstances and protect a worker from outright dis- 
charge which might otherwise be warranted by the serious- 
ness of his offense. Such are, for example, a previously 
clear record, or severe provocation. In cases of this sort, the 
discharge penalty may be set aside by the Trade Board and 
reinstatement on probation or a warning accentuated by for- 
feiture of a few days' wages, administered in its stead. Of 
such a character was the case^^ of two trimmers discharged 
for starting a fight in the shop. Though they denied that 
they actually came to blows, the Trade Board was convinced 
" that the affair was little different from what is generally 
regarded as a fight. ♦ * * Their conduct was wholly un- 
called for ; it cannot be permitted in the shop and it is a re- 
flection upon the union. This is their first offense of this 
sort, however, and the Board will not approve the extreme 
penalty of discharge. They are to be reinstated April 15th 
without pay for time lost, this to serve as discipline, and are 
warned that a second offense will mean discharge." 

While the formal right and the initiative in matters of dis- 
cipline and discharge remains with the employer, exception 
is to be noted in the case of union officials, a subject consid- 
ered later in this chapter. The actual power has largely 
passed out of his hands and into the keeping of the Trade 
Board. It has already been seen that, owing to the free use 
made by workers of their right of appeal in discharge cases, 
the practical effect of discharge by the employer is merely 
that of suspension pending the final determination by the 
Trade Board as to what the exact form and measure of dis- 
cipline shall be. The tendency observed toward less severe 
forms of discipline must be ascribed to the growing power of 
discretion vested in the Trade Board. The power thus trans- 
ferred registers, in the last analysis, the growing power of 



'^ 



i 



i 



234 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

the union — power wrested from the employers and exercised 
through this tribunal in the interests of both. 

The power of the union in limiting the employer's right 
of discipline manifests itself not only in reducing the degree 
of punishment, but also in placing restrictions upon the use 
of certain forms of penalty. Thus the imposition of fines 
upon workers by employers has been practically prohibited 
in the Chicago market. In a case^^ where a worker was sus- 
pended for damaging a coat and the firm offered to reinstate 
her on condition that she pay for the damage, the firm argued 
before the Trade Board that the collection of a money fine 
would be a reasonable form of discipline. The union, on the 
other hand, contended that the imposition of fines was a 
chief cause of the strike of 1910 and was specifically pro- 
hibited in the agreement then made with Hart, Schaffner 
and Marx. In its decision the Trade Board called attention 
to the fact that it had '' in several instances advised against 
the imposition of fines and now officially rules against it 
* * *. Experience shows that this form of discipline lends 
itself so easily to abuse that it becomes improper. Fre- 
quently fines are used as a device to undermine and reduce 
wages. Their imposition invariably leads to bad results in 
the long run * * *." 

In another case** an apprentice cutter, who had made a 
mistake, was offered the alternative of being discharged or 
paying the firm the sum of $1.75 for the damage. On hear- 
ing the case, the Trade Board disallowed either of the penal- 
ties proposed, and stated that " the firm should know that 
the system of charging workers for mistakes has been aban- 
doned long ago in this market." While directing the worker's 
reinstatement, the Board ordered him to lose three days' pay 
as discipline, thereby in a manner taking over the power of 
imposing fines. 

The objection to fines or similar forms of discipline is not 
so much to them on their own account as it is to their appli- 
cation by the employer. In the hands of the Trade Board, 
however, the chance of abuse of so dangerous a device is 
slight. Accordingly, we find the same Trade Board that had 



DISCIPLINE AND DISCHARGE 



235 



prohibited employers from fining workers, doing the same 
thing on its own authority. In a case^^ where the cutters and 
trimmers of an establishment had stopped work in protest 
against the suspension of one of their number, the Trade 
Board, after reinstating the suspended worker with pay for 
lost time, fined the other workers for violation of the agree- 
ment. The union appealed the issue to the Board of Arbi- 
tration, contending that " fines are a mistaken method of 
discipline," etc. The chairman of this Board dissented from 
the union's position that fines should not be used at all. " If 
not used too frequently and if used with good judgment they 
find a proper place in Trade Board discipline * * *. Fines 
are not a method of disciplining workers alone. In this case 
the Trade Board imposed an indirect fine upon the firm by 
requiring it to pay the suspended worker for all time lost 
The Chairman is of the opinion that the selection of methods 
of discipline must be left to the good sense of the Chairman 
of the Trade Board." 

A safeguard against any possible mis-application of a 
novel method of discipline by the Trade Board lies in the 
right of appeal to the Board of Arbitration. That this right 
IS occasionally invoked to some purpose by the union is shown 
m the following case:^^ A firm petitioned the Trade Board 
to penalize its cutters who had stopped work for three hours 
and to compensate the company for the resulting loss in pro- 
duction In addition to loss of pay for the period of stop- 
page the Trade Board ordered the cutters to work overtime 
for three hours and to be paid at straight time instead of at 
overtime rates. The union appealed from this part of the 
decision and the chairman of the Board of Arbitration ruled 
that the form of discipline in question is very appropriate 
m cases where a stoppage is not provoked and the firm is 
without fault, but not otherwise. In the case under review 
there was found to be a certain amount of provocation, and 
because of this the Board concluded that ** a fine would have 
been a more suitable penalty than the overtime order" and 
directed that each cutter should pay a fine equal to one and 




236 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 



one-half hour's pay, the Trade Board to determine how the 
money should be used. 

The second general consequence of the accumulation of 
power by the impartial machinery is its extension of discip- 
linary control over the representatives of the union on one 
hand and of the management on the other. Under the old 
regime of personal government of the shops, the employer 
or his foreman — like the king of old— could do no wrong. 
There was no law to reach him if he did. With the rise in 
the industry of government by law and reason, however, the 
officials of the firm in their dealings with the workers come 
under the sway of the impartial machinery and must answer 
to its authority. In the actual application of discipline to 
such officials the Trade Board is, of course, limited by 
the nature of the situation. It cannot, for example, impose 
immediate discharge on a foreman without consulting the 
convenience of the firm in replacing him. Nor can it suspend 
a member of the firm for an offense which, when conmiitted 
by an employe, would merit such penalty. Nevertheless, 
there are at the disposal of the Trade Board forms of dis- 
cipline adapted to all cases that arise. Inasmuch as foremen 
are the representatives of the employer in the shop, the appli- 
cation of discipline to them is usually entrusted to the firm, 
although the specific character of the penalty may be laid 
down by the Trade Board. Thus, in one case*^ the union 
requested discipline of a foreman and an assistant foreman, 
who were charged with having used abusive and insulting 
language toward workers. The assistant foreman's offense 
was the more flagrant and he was voluntarily discharged by 
the firm directly after the hearing. This the Trade Board 
considered sufficient to serve as a warning " that loose re- 
marks will not be tolerated. It is expected that the firm 
will make this clear to the foreman and see to it that there 
is no further cause for complaint." 

Where it is shown, however, that an official of the firm has 
been guilty of wilfully violating the spirit of the agreement 
or disobeying a decision of the impartial machinery, the 
Trade Board applies the penalty directly. In one such case*' 



DISCIPLINE AND DISCHARGE 



287 



a charge of fighting with a worker in the shop was brought 
against the superintendent. Because of his position of au- 
thority and influence, such action on his part was more seri- 
ous than it would have been in the case of an ordinary 
worker. The Trade Board expressed the opinion that " only 
in a clear case of self-defense to prevent bodily harm would 
a foreman or a superintendent be justified in striking a 
worker, because discipline in the form of discharge is im- 
mediately at hand* * *. The superintendent is to pay a 
fine of fifty dollars," to be used by the Trade Board as a 
relief fund. 

Trade Board discipline reaches still higher up. The union 
on one occasion preferred charges against a member of the 
firm for using insulting and improper language to a shop 
chairman. The Tradie Board in its decision set forth that 
** the representatives of either management or workers are 
entitled to courtesy and respect. The language used by 
Mr. W. was neither courteous nor respectful * * *. 
Apart from the effect upon the workers of this exhibition of 
temi)er, the Board feels that it is a serious charge against 
management and may well be a matter of market concern. 
The charge stands as a matter of official record. The Board 
adds to the record that the behavior of Mr. W. merits se- 
verest condemnation. The Board reprimands him openly 
and gives notice that the language used and the attitude 
taken will not be tolerated." 

As appears from the cases cited, the Trade Board may, 
if necessary, call upon the individual firm for assistance in 
carrying out discipline against a foreman, or superintendent, 
and possibly upon the association of firms in the market for 
action against one of its membes. In similar manner, the 
Board may deal with cases of delinquency of minor union 
officials by entrusting the application of disciplinary meas- 
ures to the union as represented in the Joint Board for the 
market. As this phase of the matter will be considered 
under the head of union discipline in the latter part of this 
chapter, attention is here directed only to the taking over 
by the Trade Board of disciplinary jurisdiction, as restrict- 



m 



288 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

ing the employer's right of discharge and discipline, in all 
cases involving shop chairmen and other miion officials em- 
ployed as workers in the shop. 

In order to insure necessary freedom of action and pro- 
tection against discrimination for the representatives of the 
workers who are themselves workers in the shop, the Hart, 
Schaffner and Marx agreement has, since 1918, contained 
the following provision: "Complaints against members of 
the Trade Board as workmen are to be made by the foremen 
to the Trade Board. Any action of any employe as a mem- 
ber of the Trade Board shall not be considered inimical to 
his employment with the corporation." This same inmwmity 
has been extended since then to shop chairmen and other 
miion officials as well. 

The dual status of the shop chairman as both a worker 
responsible to the foreman and a representative of the 
workers responsible to the imion and indirectly to the im- 
partial machinery makes it imperative that he should be 
doubly protected against arbitrary discharge at the hands of 
the employer. For such discharge, for whatever ostensible 
reason, may easily strike at the rights of the workers whom 
he represents and is always open to the inference that it was 
directed against his activities on their behalf. 

In the days before the imion came to power in the market 
its growth and very existence were threatened by the con- 
stant elimination through discharge of those workers who 
were known to be active in the organization. To make dis- 
crimination of this character impossible, shop chairmen are 
subject to a special procediu-e in the event of discipline. 

The state of the law on the subject is well summed up in 
the case of a shop chairman^® who had been suspended by the 
firm for distributing during working horn's an announcement 
of a lecture to be given imder the imion's auspices. The 
firm defended the suspension on the ground that the shop 
chairman's action was in violation of a company rule (re- 
quiring special permission from the management for circu- 
lating such handbills in the shop). After hearing the case 
the Trade Board directed that " the shop chairman should 



DISCIPLINE AND DISCHARGE 



289 



be reinstated the next morning * * ♦ and that he he 
paid for the time lost on the ground that, whatever may be 
said as to the propriety of the rule, he should not have been 
suspended at all. More than once the Trade Board has urged 
that shop chairmen should not be suspended or discharged 
unless an emergency developed, but that they should be 
brought before the Board for discipline * * *." 

Similar special treatment is now accorded to assistant shop 
chairmen as well. This principle was established for the 
entire market by a ruling"^ of the Board of Arbitration, in 
which the chairman of the Board declared that an ** assist- 
ant shop chairman should not have been suspended but 
should have been proceeded against like a shop chairman 
♦ * *. The Board sees no reason why there should 
be a distinction between chairmen and assistant chairmen 
in the matter of discipline." 

Other union officials, who are at the same time regular 
workers in the shop, come under! the same rule, and for a like 
reason. Thus may be mentioned the case^^ of the treasurer 
of a local union, who was brought up by the firm before the 
Trade Board for discipline on account of " habitual tardi- 
ness and absences." Some of this irregularity was found to 
be due to proper union business. The Trade Board, on be- 
ing assured of improvement in this man's attendance, agreed 
to suspend action. 

In the discipline of shop chairmen, the Trade Board has 
an alternative to discharge in the lesser penalty of remov- 
ing him from office. This form of discipline, however, in- 
volves the co-operation of the imion to give it effect. In 
one instance*^ a shop chairman was charged by the firm with 
having ordered a stoppage of workers. The Trade Board 
found that he had acted under strong provocation, yet char- 
acterized the case as one, of " unwarranted display of author- 
ity," and decided that it would be " sufficient discipline if 
the shop chairman is relieved of his duties as representative 
of the workers for a period of thirty days. A temporary 
chairman is to be elected and will be recognized * * *." 

On the other hand, shop chairmen do not merely by virtue 



240 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

of their official position, enjoy immunity from discharge at 
the hands of the Trade Board. If anything, more is ex- 
pected of them as regards their behavior in the shop and 
their upholding of the letter and spirit of the agreement than 
is demanded of the rank and file of workers, who bear no 
such responsibility of leadership. In the light of this prin- 
ciple is to be understood the action of the Trade Board in 
ordering the removal and discharge of a certain shop chair- 
man who was found guUty of abusive language and repeated 
fighting with fellow workers. As a worker he is m the same 
position as other workers, bearing similar rights and duties, 
and, as set forth in another decision:" " If the shop chair- 
man is unable to measure up as a worker he is not only uirfit 
to serve as shop chairman but cannot expect to hold his 

place as a worker." . 

Notwithstanding its power of discipline over shop chair- 
men, the Trade Board is not expected to take the initiative 
even in these cases. It must wait for specific complaints 
on the employer's part against such union officials before 
it can proceed even to investigate their conduct. The pur- 
pose of this restriction of the Board's function is, obviously, 
to keep it a strictly judicial body and to protect it against 
any imputation of taking sides, which might easily impair 
its authority and prestige. On one occasion'' a firm peti- 
tioned the Board of Arbitration for a change in this system, 
under which the firm had " no right to initiate discipline 
(of union officials) and the chairman (of the Trade Board) 
refused to take any responsibility for necessary disciphne. 
In denying the petition, the Board of Arbitration stated the 
issue thus: " The management feels that the chairman of 
the Trade Board should do something more than hear cases 
filed with him, that in some way or other he should be active 
in the administration." And the Board's reply was that 
" the chairman of the Trade Board cannot well take the 
initiative in this or other matters, except perhaps by sug- 
gesting needed conferences to the parties in interest. He 
must not only be impartial but must also, at all times be care- 
ful to avoid incorrect expressions that he is not impartial." 




Trade Board of the Wholesale Clothiers, Wholesale Tailors, Cut Trim 
and Make Association, etc., B. M. Squires, Impartial Chairman 




" I- n i A f-i ^. 1 :\ 1 :-i r^ f .^ 5 C - I 

» I >A. i\ T S c u A r r M c f ■'■ H '^ H -x 

■J '• M r -J I-! .J u I. £ w ^ - t. « C M A I 1 



Cutters and Trimmers Commission, Hart, Schaffner and Marx, 

James Mullenbach, Chairman 



240 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

of their official position, enjoy immunity from discharge at 
the hands of the Trade Board. If anything, more is ex- 
pected of them as regards their behavior in the shop and 
their upholding of the letter and spirit of the agreement than 
is demanded of the rank and file of workers, who bear no 
such responsibility of leadership. In the light of this pnn- 
ciple is to be understood the action of the Trade Board m 
ordering the removal and discharge of a certain shop chair- 
man who was found guilty of abusive language and repeated 
fighting with fellow workers. As a worker he is in the same 
position as other workers, bearing similar rights and duties, 
and, as set forth in another decision :»» " If the shop chair- 
man is unable to measure up as a worker he is not only unfit 
to serve as shop chairman but cannot expect to hold his 

i)lace as a worker." . 

Notwithstanding its power of discipUne over shop chair- 
men, the Trade Board is not expected to take the initiative 
even in these cases. It must wait for specific complaints 
on the employer's part against such union officials before 
it can proceed even to investigate their conduct. The pur- 
pose of this restriction of the Board's function is, obviously, 
to keep it a strictly judicial body and to protect it against 
any imputation of taking sides, which might easily impair 
its' authority and prestige. On one occasion'" a firm peti- 
tioned the Board of Arbitration for a change in this system, 
under which the firm had " no right to initiate discipline 
(of union officials) and the chairman (of the Trade Board) 
refused to take any responsibility for necessary discipline. 
In denying the petition, the Board of Arbitration stated the 
issue tiius: " The management feels that the chairman of 
the Trade Board should do something more than hear cases 
filed with him, that in some way or other he should be active 
in the administration." And the Board's reply was that 
"the chairman of the Trade Board cannot well take the 
initiative in this or other matters, except perhaps by sug- 
gesting needed conferences to the parties in interest. He 
must not only be impartial but must also at all tinies be care- 
ful to .avoid "incorrect expressions that he is not impartial." 




Trade Board of the Wholesale Clothiers. Wiiolesale Tailors, Cut Trim 
and Make Association, etc.. B. ^I. Squires, Impartial Chairman 




Cutters and Trimmers Commission. Hart. Schaffner and Marx. 

James Mullcnbach. Chairman 






' i 



1 1 



■I' 



$ 



mu 



DISCIPLINE AND DISCHARGE 
EXTENSION OF WORKERS' RIGHTS 



241 



Under the old regime of exclusive employer's control, the 
worker on entering the factory left behind whatever liberty 
he might enjoy as a member of the community at large. He 
submitted himself not only to such rules as a stereotyped 
factory discipline entailed, and to such restrictions on his 
comings and goings, his associations and activities even while 
off duty, as those who controlled his job might impose upon 
him, but also to the whims of the foreman and of others in 
authority over him. He submitted simply because he had no 
rights that had become recognized or that could be enforced 
against the employer — short of a strike by the entire shop. 
Even elementary personal needs could be satisfied during 
working hours only with the foreman's consent. Whatever 
shop regulations might be promulgated by the employer be- 
came law for the workers in that shop. 

With the participation of the union in shop government, 
these rules and prohibitions came under scrutiny and had 
to square with the agreement jointly entered into, or go. 
Employers could no longer discipline workers for refusing 
to obey orders that ran counter to the workers' rights as 
guaranteed or implied in the agreement. Among their rights 
so reserved and guaranteed are those personal liberties within 
the shop that do not conflict with efficiency and good disci- 
pline, and that freedom of movement and choice outside the 
shop which is compatible with the law. The principle is 
illustrated in a Trade Board case^^ turning on the discharge 
of a worker for leaving the shop without a pass. The worker, 
desiring to see a doctor, had been refused a pass by the fore- 
man who required him to submit first to a physical examina- 
tion by the company's medical staff. The Trade Board 
held that " compulsory attendance on company's physician 
would be a limitation of personal liberty not stipulated in 
the agreement nor estabhshed by general practice," and 
directed that the worker be reinstated with pay for time lost. 

In another case,^® the firm had issued instructions to all 
its employes that any of them foimd gambling at a certain 



•I 



242 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

nearby cigar store would be discharged. The threat was soon 
afterward put into effect against one worker who was taken 
in a police raid on the place but who claimed he had taken 
no part in any gambling, and the charge against him was 
dismissed in court. The Trade Board directed his reinstate- 
ment with pay for time lost. " The discharge was wholly 
unwarranted. * * * The firm can scarcely expect to say 
where its employes are to buy cigars or assume that anyone 
found buying cigars at this place is perforce a gambler. 
♦ ♦ * The Board expects the firm to use judgment in 
exercising its right of discipline." 

The safeguarding of the worker's right to the job and 
the corresponding limitations upon the employer's right to 
** turn over " his labor force, i.e., to discharge workers, apply 
only after the two weeks' trial period is past. During the 
first fortnight of his employment, the worker is on probation. 
He must earn the right to permanent employment by 
proving his fitness for the particular position which he is ex- 
pected to fill. If he meets the requirements of the job he 
is accepted and has what is known as a "mortgage" or 
presumptive claim upon it. If he fails for any reason what- 
soever to satisfy the employer, the latter is free, before the 
expiration of the two weeks, to dismiss him and call upon 
the union for another worker to fill the vacancy. 

The probationary period through which every new worker 
must pass before his employment is secure, is of great im- 
portance to the employer from the standpoint of proper 
selection of his help. This is especially the case where the 
organization of work in his shop is in any degree different 
from that prevailing in other establishments in the market, 
and since the order in which the union suppHes him with can- 
didates for the position does not insure detailed fitness for it. 
But, while viewing the matter through the employer's eyes, 
the union concedes to him broad discharge powers at that stage 
of the worker's employment, it has even here succeeded in 
erecting certain safeguards against the abuse of such power. 
It has insisted that the power of dismissal shall not be used 
as an instnunent of discrimination or of intimidation, or in 



DISCIPLINE AND DISCHARGE 



248 



any way for undermining the union. And to make effective 
its insistence, the union has in Chicago won the right for a 
member discharged during the probationary period to appeal 
to the Trade Board in any case where evidence points to 
discrimination. The burden of proof in such cases rests, of 
course, on the union. In the words of one decision, " The 
probationary period is for the purpose of determining the 
fitness of the new worker and the firm is given considerable 
latitude during this period. The burden of proof in case 
of discharge rests upon the union and discrimination must 
be clearly shown." 

In the event that a worker is finally engaged, the terms 
and conditions of his employment thereafter are understood 
to be those which obtained during his probationary period, 
and cannot be changed except by agreement with the union. 
Nor can the employer enforce under threat or by the use of 
discipline, any private arrangement entered into with the new 
worker in consideration of his being retained. The proba- 
tionary terms of employment, by vii-tue of the implied con- 
tract, take on the character of rights and duties under the 
collective agreement and are enf orcible through the impartial 
machinery. 

The union in one case^® complained of the discharge of a 
certain trimmer. The firm claimed that the man's produc- 
tion had failed to reach a standard promised by him during 
his probationary period — ^a standard, however, in excess of 
that actually set by him during that period. In deciding the 
case against the firm, the Trade Board stated: " The only 
standard of production that the Trade Board can recognize 
under circumstances such as these is the standard set by the 
worker during his probationary period. If the record of this 
is clear and beyond question and the firm chooses to retain 
the worker beyond the probationary period without definite 
understanding with the union as to the conditions imder 
which the worker is retained, the firm may be said to have 
accepted the standards set during the period." In case the 
two weeks' period was too short a time for observing the 
worker's performance under the most favorable conditions. 






244 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

the firm had the right to request the union for an extension 
of that worker's trial period. 

Once a worker has earned his status as a regular employe, 
he cannot be dislodged as long as his work and general con- 
duct do not fall below the reasonable standards of the shop. 
It happens, sometimes, that an employer desires to rid him- 
self of a particular worker for some ulterior purpose, but 
lacking sufficient cause to justify discharge before the Trade 
Board, welcomes an occasion for compromising in order to 
discharge him. If the discriminatory intent behind such dis- 
charge can be shown, the worker will be fully protected. In 
one case of this sort*® the firm allowed a cutter to make a 
wasteful cut before calling his attention to it and then sus- 
pended him on the strength of it. The imion contended 
before the Trade Board that the man was no more careless 
than other cutters and that the complaint in question was 
handled in such a way as to give reason to believe that the 
worker was discriminated against. The union charged, more- 
over, " that the firm is using this means to secure closer lays 
and hopes to intimidate other cutters by discharging this 
man." In ordering the reinstatement of the worker with pay 
for time lost, the Trade Board observed that " the firm ap- 
peared to be more interested in getting something on the 
worker than in avoiding the waste of material or correcting 
habits of carelessness in the worker. Even if the worker was 
clearly at fault and his carelessness was admitted, the Board 
would not be disposed to hold the charge against him in the 
face of the method used to convict him." 

HOLDING FOR INVESTIGATION 

Next in importance to the general presumptive right of 
the worker to the job itself, one of the most important rights 
he has acquired through the power of the union is that of 
holding for joint investigation any garment on which the 
workmanship is in dispute between him and the manage- 
ment. Before the recognition of this right it was possible 
for an employer to charge a worker with unsatisfactory 



DISCIPLINE AND DISCHARGE 



245 



i 
w 



workmanship on a given garment and to discipline him 
accordingly, while in reality the workmanship was up to 
the standard or, if inferior, was chargeable to some other 
worker. To prevent injustice of this sort and to enable the 
union to present evidence before the Trade Board that would 
otherwise not be available, the right of the worker to require 
disputed garments to be held for joint examination by the 
union deputy and a higher official of the management has 
become established. 

Cases still occur where a worker is suspended for refus- 
ing to bushel a garment returned to him by the examiner. 
If he as a worker considers the workmanship to be adequate 
he has the right of bringing it to the attention of the shop 
chairman. If this official then agrees that the work is right 
and takes charge of the matter, making formal request, the 
garment must be held pending investigation. The shop 
chairman, of course, " is presumed only to take up cases 
brought to his attention with a request, not to take the initi- 
ative in holding for investigation."*^ 

The law of procedure governing all cases of holding gar- 
ments for investigation has been gradually worked out in the 
course of many decisions primarily under the Hart, Schaff- 
ner and Marx agreement. One of the earliest cases*^ decided 
by the Trade Board turned upon this question as to whether 
the worker might require his work to be held for examination 
where complaint had been made of workmanship. On this 
point the Board ruled that " where it is convenient the entire 
lot should be held for investigation when the worker de- 
mands it. Wliere it is not convenient to hold the entire lot, 
then a selection of the garments is to be made, as follows: 
the worker or his representatives may select a sample of 
the work that they think is passable; the representative of 
the firm may select a sample that he regards as evidence of 
the worst workmanship. These two samples will be pre- 
sented to the Board if it becomes necessary, as evidence of 
the workmanship. This ruling does not apply to rush lots." 

It appears from the above decision that the responsibility 
in the matter of having disputed work held for investigation. 




246 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

and even in the matter of selecting the only sample to be 
held, virtually rested with the worker himself. The union 
had not yet gained sufficient power or prestige to command 
a distinct function and corresponding rights in the situa- 
tion. Consequently, it is not greatly surprising to find that 
in practice the worker's right to have even one garment held 
under these conditions was not securely established for sev- 
eral years and did not effectually protect him against dis- 
charge for exercising that right. This observation is borne 
out by the fact that, in 1917, a test case*' was made by the 
company of a decision by the Trade Board reinstating with 
back pay an oflF-presser who had been discharged for asking 
that a coat be held for investigation. The company appealed 
the case on the ground that the ruling of the Trade Board 
" gave the worker an immunity bath and took the authority 
from the foreman to discipline for bad work or to have him 
complete the work." On October 11, 1917, the chairman 
of the Board of Arbitration laid down the following niUng 
in this case, known as No. 870: 



u 



The chairman is asked to review this case with special 
reference to defining the conditions to be observed when 
a garment is to be held for investigation. In this case an 
imperfectly pressed garment was asked to be held for 
investigation, and while the company consented to hold the 
garment, it suspended the presser pending inquiry. The Trade 
Board found the garment imperfect and ordered the presser to 
fix it, but at the same time reinstated him in his position with 
back pay. From this decision, the company appeals, and asks 
that the holding for investigation be more clearly defined. 

" The principle upon which the right for investigation de- 
pends is the right of the worker to be protected against the 
exaction of an excessive amount of work, beyond the amount 
agreed upon in the specifications. If the worker believes more 
effort is required of him by examiner or foreman than is called 
for by the specifications, he may appeal to the proper authority 
for a judgment. Unless the request is accompanied by insub- 
ordination or other offense, the mere request to hold for investi- 
gation shall not of itself be a subject of penalty pending the 
inquiry ; neither shall it be used as a shield to protect the worker 
from discipline if on other grounds he is deserving of it. 

" Inasmuch as the challenge of the judgment of the examiner 



DISCIPLINE AND DISCHARGE 



247 



or foreman by the worker involves some possible complications, 
it is well that such an act should be attended by some formal 
steps, and the foUowing are directed : 

1. "If the worker wishes to have work held for investiga- 
tion in any department he shall first call over the shop chairman 
who shall examine the work. If he approves the request of the 
worker he shall make formal demand on the foreman or superin- 
tendent to hold work for investigation. 

2. " He shall limit himself to one garment, unless it is clear 
that it is not enough for a representation; then he shall hold 
the least number consistent with needs of a fair investigation. 
In no case shall a garment from a rush lot be held. 

8. " The chairman shall notify his deputy as promptly as 
possible and he shall visit the shop and pass on the garment 
before the close of the next business day. If prevented from 
getting there by reasonable cause, he shall report such fact to 
the deputy of the company and shall have until the end of the 
following day to make the investigation. 

4. " Unless the worker shall have had the endorsement of his 
deputy by the end of the third day from the making of the 
demand, he shall proceed to fix the garment; or as soon as the 
deputy's endorsement has been denied. 

5. " If the deputy shall endorse the position of the worker, 
the company may then take the case to the Trade Board, who 
shall give the case a hearing as promptly as practicable. Fail- 
ure to appeal by the company, the worker shall no longer be 
held responsible. 

" The Trade Board may consider at its hearing all the issues 
and complaints that may be involved in a case of * hold for in- 
vestigation,' and in its decision may include all collateral ques- 
tions." 

By this decision, Mr. Williams not only standardized the 
procedure to be followed in the type of case referred to. He 
placed further limitations upon the company's administrative 
and disciplinary powers by vesting in the union officials 
discretion in all matters relating to holding of garments for 
investigation. Union officials were now charged with the 
responsibility, first, of passing upon the validity of the 
worker's request to have the garments held, and upon the 
number to be thus held; and secondly, of passing upon the 
merits of the disputed work itself before the employer could 
appeal to the Trade Board. The effect of this procedure was 



248 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

to establish an expert joint commission intermediate between 
the worker directly concerned and the general adjustment 

board. 

Part of the limitation imposed upon the powers of man- 
agement by the decision consisted in the extension of the 
function of the shop chairman in these cases. The decision 
placed upon the shop chairman, at least by implication, the 
responsibility of selecting the number of garments he be- 
lieves necessary for an adequate representation of the dis- 
puted work. It was but natural that conflict should arise 
sooner or later over the use made of this power by shop chair- 
men in critical cases. Accordingly, in February, 1919, that 
issue came up for adjudication** before the Board of Arbi- 
tration for Hart, Schaffner and Marx, as Case No. 690. 
Chairman Tufts took occasion to reaffirm the transfer of 
power to the shop chairman and to define the procedure in- 
tended to safeguard it against abuse, in the following im- 
portant ruling: 

"The Board of Arbitration believes that the intention of 
the ruling in Case No. 370 was to insure a fair investigation. 
Ideally this would involve an impartial witness during the whole 
procedure. Neither the superintendent nor the shop chairman 
is completely impartial. But the Board believes that it is 
desirable to make it very clear to the worker that his rights are 
being protected, even if need be at the expense of inclining the 
balance somewhat in his direction and giving him the benefit of 
the doubt. It holds, therefore, that the shop chairman must 
take the responsibility of deciding whether more than one is 
needed for representation. As a check upon abuse of this 
responsibility, it suggests that if any superintendent has reason 
to believe that a shop chairman is either incompetent to judge 
whether several garments are needed for the investigation, or is 
wilfully aiding in holding work beyond what is necessary, he 
may file complaint against such chairman with the Trade Board. 
If the Trade Board finds the complaint justified it may censure 
the chairman. In such case the records of the work held for 
investigation by the chairman for a period of time may properly 
be considered." 

This decision, of which the foresfoing excerpt is the essen- 
tial part, has furnished the precedent for a series of later 



DISCIPLINE AND DISCHARGE 



249 



Trade Board rulings. A case directly in point*^ is that of a 
cleaner, who was discharged for refusing to clean a coat of 
which the management complained. The shop chairlady 
wished to have the coat held for investigation. The superin- 
tendent refused on the ground that one coat was already be- 
ing held for investigation by this girl. The chairlady 
claimed she could hold this coat also; the superintendent 
stated that his orders were to permit only one coat to 
be held. As the girl refused to clean the coat imder instruc- 
tions from the shop chairlady, the girl was suspended and 
discharged. In the light of the above quoted ruling by the 
chairman of the Board of Arbitration, the Trade Board 
found that the superintendent was required to hold the coat 
if the shop chairlady requested it to be held, and that the 
suspension of the girl was not warranted. The Trade 
Board decided, therefore, that the girl should be reinstated 
with back pay. 

The right of the shop chairman to require a garment to be 
held for investigation whenever in his judgment it is neces- 
sary, even where, upon review by the Trade Board, his 
judgment proves to be mistaken, has been confirmed by the 
Board of Arbitration. This interpretation of the shop' chair- 
man's responsibility was made in a case** in which F, a 
worker in a trouser shop, " insisted that the garment be held 
for investigation even though other garments were being 
held at that time involving exactly the same principle. The 
Trade Board held in this case that " even though other gar- 
ments were held by others presenting the same defect 
charged against F, it seems clear that he had a right to re- 
quest that his own garments be held for investigation." The 
Board of Arbitration, to whom the company appealed, dis- 
sented from the ruling of the Trade Board as to the merits 
of the case only, and gave the following interpretation of 
the law: 

*• In the decision of the Board of Arbitration in case No. 690, 
it was the intention to provide for two principles: (1) That 
the shop chairman should have the responsibility for deciding 
how many garments should be regarded as necessary evidence. 



250 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

This was intended to be set off against making either the super- 
intendent on the one hand or the worker himself on the other, 
the judge; (2) That in case the company believes that the shop 
chairman is either incompetent in his judgment as to how many 
garments should be held or is purposely holding garments not 
needed as evidence, it may file a notice with the Trade Board of 
the case and either at that time or later when additional in- 
stances of this same sort occur, may ask the Trade Board for 
such action as the case demands. 

** The Board of Arbitration holds that these two principle* 
may be properly applied to the present case, although this 
involves the somewhat different angle that several workers are 
involved and that the company considers that one garment is 
sufficient evidence, and that therefore it is not necessary that 
each man should have his own garments held. 

" It seems to the Board that on this principle it would not 
necessarily be the case that a garment from each of several 
workers should be held for investigation. Therefore, it can- 
not be said that each man has a right to have his garment held 
for investigation irrespective of the fact that it is of the same 
character as other garments. The important and controlling 
point is not whose garment it is but whether there is a real and 
essential difference in the garment. If, therefore, a worker 
claims to have his garment held when there is already another 
garment being held for investigation, he cannot rest his claim 
simply on the fact that it is his garment. He must show that 
it involves some different point or kind of workmanship. 

" But the shop chairman is to be the judge as to any claim so 
made. He must take the responsibility of saying whether one 
or two or three or more garments are needed, whether they come 
from one workman or from different workmen. This protects 
the workman because the shop chairman is his own representa- 
tive. The shop chairman, in making his decision, is to be 
guided by the principles stated in the preceding paragraph. 
That is, he will not hold additional garments simply because 
they come from different workmen unless there is such a differ- 
ence as makes it important for a fair decision that they should 
be retained as evidence. 

" Finally, the company has a check upon the efficiency and 
sincerity of the shop chairman in the method of record and 
hearing before the Trade Board. 

" It is the belief of the Board that if this method is followed 
it will be possible after a sufficient interval to find out whether 
both sides are adequately protected. It is desirable, therefore, 
that a record should be kept so that at some later time it may 



DISCIPLINE AND DISCHARGE 



251 



be possible to review the situation and ascertain whether some 
different adjustment is needed • ♦ • » 

The effect of the foregoing decision was to set up along- 
side of the guaranteed right of the shop chairman in the 
situation, his accountability to the impartial machinery for 
the discriminating use of this right. It is a right conditioned 
in its exercise, like all restrictions upon the freedom of man- 
agement, by the necessity of protecting substantial interests 
of the workers. In other words, the shop chairman's deci- 
sions in the matter of holding for investigation must be 
reasonable rather than arbitrary. It was to establish this 
principle of reasonableness that the company appealed from 
a certain Trade Board decision,*' which had declared that 
" The right to hold for investigation cannot be withheld from 
the union or its official because the company's manager thinks 
the demand is unreasonable or unnecessary in any case 
* * ♦." The chairman of the Board of Arbitration agreed 
with this statement of the Trade Board. He added, however, 
the following quaUfication: "It is expected that a reason 
shall be given when a request is made that a garment be held 
and that the shop chairman shall be held responsible for the 
proper use of the right accorded ♦ * *." 

If the management still thinks the shop chairman is mak- 
ing an unnecessary demand for holding a garment, or that 
his reason for holding it is not an adequate one, it may com- 
plain to the Trade Board. An illustration of this procedure 
is found in the case*® of W, a shop chairman, whom the com- 
pany charged before the Trade Board with having held an 
excessive and needless number of coats for investigation. On 
hearing the evidence, the Trade Board found no sufficient 
reason for special discipline except to warn W to be more 
careful in exercising the right to hold garments. " That 
right carries a very definite responsibility for its careful 
exercise and shop chairmen should hold the least number of 
garments necessary to illustrate and support their complaint. 
The holding of garments is an interference with manage- 
ment and is only allowed because the interests of the workers 
need safeguarding, but the interference with the flow of work 






252 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

should be kept at its lowest terms. In general, this has been 
the case in the observation of the Trade Board, but the point 
needs constant watching and restraint by the shop chairman." 

The obligation resting upon the shop chairman to observe 
moderation in the use of his right to have garments held for 
investigation extends also to the worker directly. In the 
language of a recent Trade Board decision** : ** The right of 
a worker to ask that a garment be held for investigation is 
admitted, but judgment is to be exercised and the worker is 
expected to be willing to recognize and admit obvious mis- 
takes; otherwise, every mistake would have to be made a 
matter of joint investigation." The worker's obligation to 
fix work returned to him that he himself knows to be poor, is 
not set aside by his right of refusal in other cases. 

Even when, in the worker's judgment, the work should be 
held for investigation and the shop chairman makes a selec- 
tion of garments as a representation of those in dispute, the 
worker is not released from the obligation of fixing the other 
garments in dispute that are not thus held. This principle 
was laid down in a decision by Chairman Tufts,** already 
quoted in part. He ruled that " The worker shall fix all 
other coats and may not ask for a further holding for in- 
vestigation until the case is decided." And in a later deci- 
sion*® he elucidated this point as follows: " The clause (just 
quoted) shall be understood to mean * the worker shall fix all 
other coats than those which the shop chairman decides to be 
necessary for a fair investigation '." 

This obligation on the worker and the reasonable limits 
within which the management may be justified in enforcing 
it, are illustrated in a recent Trade Board case already 
cited.** A worker was suspended for refusing to fix work 
other than that held for investigation. The chairman of the 
Trade Board, citing the Tufts decision as applicable, de- 
clared it ** to mean nothing less than that the worker is to fix 
the coats in this case. His refusal to do so was sufficient 
ground for disciphne. At the same time the chairman of the 
Trade Board would state it as his opinion that the main con- 
cern in the case of disputes of this nature should be to 



DISCIPLINE AND DISCHARGE 



253 



determine without delay whether the firm or the worker is at 
fault and not to insist on having the work done a certain way 
irrespective of its urgency. If the work can be laid aside 
without loss until an investigation can be made or the case 
can be heard by the Trade Board, this should be done rather 
than insist on putting the work through. If the work, other 
than that held for investigation, can not be delayed, the firm 
is quite within its right in insisting that it be done. Rush 
work, of course, cannot be held for investigation." The 
Trade Board directed the reinstatement of the worker. 

On the other hand, the worker may not be required, pend- 
ing a decision by the committee or by the Trade Board on 
the work held for investigation, to do better work than that 
in dispute. Otherwise, the management would be practically 
making itself the judge of the dispute. In one instance'^' a 
worker was suspended for refusing to do his work better than 
a sample already laid aside for investigation. The Trade 
Board directed his reinstatement with pay for time lost. The 
basis for this decision was stated as follows : " Investiga- 
tion is for the purpose of establishing what is correct work. 
To make a demand that the work be done better than that 
held for investigation as a condition of being permitted to 
work is improper, for the question of what is correct work 
has then passed from the foreman and man to others for deci- 
sion on its merits. Pending a decision, the firm is not to 
demand better work than that being passed on. On the other 
hand, the man must correct all poor work done (that less 
good than that held for investigation) and may be disciplined 
for refusal to make such correction or for persisting in doing 
poor work." 

From the beginning, as has been shown, the right to hold 
for investigation has not been conceded as applying to gar- 
ments from a " rush " lot. The reason for this exception 
from the point of view of management is obvious. In one 
case" where a worker was suspended for refusal to do certain 
work as ordered and for asking it to be held for investigation, 
the Trade Board upheld the action of the firm. It ruled 
that " the lot in question was a rush order. The worker had 






i^ 



I 



254 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

no right to demand that the garments be held for investiga- 
tion or to refuse to do the work as directed." In view of 
this and previous complaints the Board declined to reinstate 
him. 

Since the right to hold for joint investigation belongs also 
to the employer, the procedure must be such as to protect the 
worker against the possibility of its misuse. Thus, in one 
case,^^ a garment was presented by the firm for joint in- 
vestigation without any notice of such intention having been 
given either to the worker or to the shop chairman at the time 
the garment was held. When it was presented the worker 
accused the foreman of having tampered with it for the pur- 
pose of " framing " him. The Trade Board in its decision 
approved the contention of the union that " when a worker is 
accused of poor work and this is to be made the basis of a 
specific complaint and formal investigation, the defects 
should be brought to the attention of the worker and the shop 
chairman and definite arrangements made for a joint in- 
vestigation. There should be no occasion to question that 
the work is in exactly the same condition as the operator 
left it." 

Beyond the well-defined right to be represented by his 
shop chairman whenever disputed work is to be held for in- 
vestigation, the worker has gained the more general right of 
calling upon the shop chairman for advice and help in what- 
ever matter he may feel the need of it. This right of con- 
sultation has been clearly established by a decision of the 
Board of Arbitration** in a case brought to it on appeal. 
The appeal was taken by the firm ^* from the principle enun- 
ciated by the Trade Board that the employes have a right 
to do anything which is not strictly forbidden in the agree- 
ment." The union contended that no such right was claimed, 
nor did the chairman find such a principle announced by the 
Trade Board. It simply affirmed the right of the worker to 
call upon his shop chairman, which right, under the agree- 
ment, the Trade Board held, could not be denied by a rule 
requiring him to obtain permission from the foreman. And 
the chairman of the Board of Arbitration ruled as follows: 



DISCIPLINE AND DISCHARGE 



255 



" The right of the employe to have free and unimpeded 
access to his shop chairman is impUed on pages 6 and 7 of 
the agreement (1916), which would not otherwise be work- 
able; although it is provided that the foreman shall be in- 
formed of the purpose of the employe's movements if he so 
desires. Like any other right it is susceptible to misuse, and 
if any worker is found abusing this right by using it to kill 
time, or for any improper purpose, he is subject to such dis- 
cipline as may be imposed by the Trade Board." 

The right of the worker to be accompanied in person by 
the shop chairman when complaints of any sort are to be 
taken up with him by officials of management is not so clear. 
Nevertheless, a trend in this direction is apparent. The 
present status of the right is shown in a more recent Trade 
Board case*^^ of a worker discharged for refusing to answer 
the labor manager's questions unless the shop chairman were 
allowed to be present. The union upheld the worker in this 
position, but the Trade Board refrained from laying down 
any general rule. It foimd that " some complaints are of 
such a nature that the shop chairman should be present when 
they are taken up with the worker. However, the firm can 
scarcely be denied the right to interview the workers in- 
dividually." The issue presented in this case is likely to 
come up again in other forms as workers or union feel the 
need of protection against possible abuse of the employer's 
right of individual interview. 

PARTICIPATION BY THE UNION IN SHOP DISCIPLINE 

Up to this point, in discussing the growth of union control 
over shop discipline, the emphasis has been chiefly upon the 
defensive phase of the situation. The union has been shown 
operating in the capacity of defender of the individual worker 
against arbitrary or oppressive treatment at the hands of the 
employer. It has appeared as demanding, both directly and 
through the authority of the impartial machinery, the restric- 
tion of the employer's freedom of action in discharge and 
discipline in particular cases. It has labored successfully in 



"^ • '■ ^ 



256 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

the direction of strengthening the impartial machinery and 
enhancing its authority over matters of discipline at the ex- 
pense of the employers. And finally, it has enforced regard 
for certain rights of the worker for which it has from time 
to time secured recognition and verbal embodiment in the 
agreement and the decisions. Every step on this road has 
redounded to the greater security of the individual worker 
in his job and in the enjoyment of those rights and conditions 
that go with the job in a union shop. 

But there is another aspect to the picture. That is the 
collective aspect. The union, as the organization of all the 
workers in the industry, has certain larger and more perma- 
nent interests to serve alongside of the protection of in- 
dividual workers against the untoward consequences of their 
daily actions in the shop. These larger interests are (1) 
those of building up a powerful organization that can act 
promptly and effectively in the interest of all the members 
when called upon; and (2) of an efficient, stable industry as 
the solid foundation for the structure of the luiion itself. 
With these two main aims in view, the union pursues its 
policy of collective bargaining and agreement-making ;as 
the one best calculated to promote peaceful development of 
both union and industry. 

Now, the agreement is necessarily a two-sided affair. It is 
entered into for the mutual benefit of both parties. Each 
gives as well as receives, its relative strength at the time de- 
termining how favorable or unfavorable the bargain. The 
agreement guarantees rights and privileges to each, and the 
rights of one are the obligations of the other. Thus, the 
rights of the workers relate to such matters as wages and 
working conditions, security in employment and opportimity 
for redress of grievances against the employer. In conced- 
ing the workers' rights in all these respects, the employer, 
through the agreement, acknowledges his own obligation to 
meet the requirements and restrictions they impose upon him. 
He accepts definite obligations toward the workers in his 
employ. Similarly, the union, as spokesman for the workers, 
accepts certain obligations toward the employer — obligations 



DISCIPLINE AND DISCHARGE 



257 



corresponding to the recognized rights of the employer. The 
rights of the employer are those of management. They bear 
chiefly on the control of production and the operation of the 
factory. They are not absolute rights, but are to be exer- 
cised with reasonable restraint, and with due regard to the 
rights of the workers affected. As such the union acknowl- 
edges the employer's rights and thereby accepts the responsi- 
bility for upholding them, even against its own individual 
members, if necessary. Concretely, the union undertakes to 
see to it that, so far, at least, as the matter rests with the 
workers, there shall be no unnecessary interruption or inter- 
ference with production and no unwarranted disorder in the 
shop. The authority of the management over the workers 
is to be upheld so long and so far as it is exercised in accord- 
ance with the agreement, or the custom of the market. There 
are positive reasons of policy why the union can afford to 
give this co-operation to the employers, but apart from these 
it can be easily seen that the workers themselves have not 
least to gain from good order and efficient management in 
the shop. Participation in maintaining shop discipline in 
this sense becomes, in time, a genuine concern of the organ- 
ization. 

This is not to say, of course, that the union is under obliga- 
tion to take the initiative in shop discipline. That initiative 
still rests with the employer, who is more immediately con- 
cerned and benefited by its exercise. But the union's func- 
tion in this connection is that of backing up the employer and 
the impartial machinery in the enforcement of the employer's 
rights under the agreement, whenever its violation at the 
hands of the workers is in question. The entire machinery 
of the union both in the shop and in the Joint Board office, 
which at times operates in behalf of the rights of the workers 
under the agreement, is called into play at other times to 
secure performance of their duties under the agreement. As 
"^ a result of this " responsible " character of the organization it 
is in a position to demand and graduaUy to obtain a recog- 
nized place and share in the government of the shop. 

Practically considered, this means that the employer be- 



258 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 



comes increasingly dependent for production and the smooth 
rimning of his estabUshment upon the good will and co- 
operation of the union. He may, of course, exercise his right 
of discipline in dealing with individual workers who offend 
against his legitimate authority. But he cannot in this way 
deal with an entire section or shop that has become rebellious 
or disorderly. Disciplinary measures applied wholesale 
would only aggravate his problem. Workers are no longer 
to be cowed into obedience. They must yield it willingly, 
if at all. An antagonistic or suspicious frame of mind is to 
be dispelled not by force but by conciliatory and educational 
means, for force provokes coimter-force. Any innovation 
in methods of work or pay that is imposed by order of the 
management is apt to call out opposition from the workers 
affected. To discharge them for insubordination may merely 
result in a general stoppage of work and resentment all 
round. The employer is not properly concerned with the 
abstract right of having his orders obeyed. He is greatly 
concerned with getting out production, and this depends 
on the willing co-operation of the workers. These must, ac- 
cordingly, be induced to give their consent to the change pro- 
posed; they must feel assured that their rights and stand- 
ards will not be jeopardized by it, even indirectly. Such 
assurance can ultimately come to them only from their own 
organization, as the sole power that can be depended upon 
to protect their interests against the employer under all cir- 
cumstances. 

As an illustration of the way in which the union functions 
as a force for maintaining order in the shop, we may cite the 
case^^ of a firm whose discipline, according to its own state- 
ment, was very unsatisfactory. In order to remedy the situa- 
tion, the firm had called on the union for assistance. The 
labor manager and the deputy investigated conditions and 
were working together to bring about improvement, when a 
new clash occurred. One day, when the shaper was absent, 
the piece presser was told to do some shaping. He refused 
to do the work and was suspended. The procedure on both 
sides was improper. The worker, if he felt that he was 



DISCIPLINE AND DISCHARGE 



259 



wrongfully required to do something outside his regular 
duties, could have protested and called the shop chairman, to 
make sure that his interests would be safeguarded. The 
foreman, likewise, had this opportimity to obtain the endorse- 
ment of the union representative for his order. He chose 
the way of direct action. In reinstating the worker, the 
chairman of the Trade Board called attention to the impor- 
tance for the firm of entrusting to the union what amounts 
to a greater share in the government of the shop. " Disci- 
pline," he declared, " rests with the firm but its effectiveness 
depends in considerable measure on the co-operation of the 
union. The union is co-operating, as testified by the firm, 
in helping to restore discipline in the shop. The deputy told 
the worker in this case that he was to carry out the order of 
the foreman. This is the kind of co-operation that brings 
results. ♦ ♦ ♦" 

When necessary, the imion goes further, taking a positive 
interest in the conduct of its members in the shop. Evidence 
of this is supplied by the case of a certain apprentice cutter,^^ 
who was discharged for impertinence to the proprietor after 
having had a bad record in the shop for general insubordina- 
tion. At the hearing the shop chairman testified that he 
had taken the matter up with the union in an effort to bring 
the worker imder control. He felt that there was no hope of 
making an acceptable cutter of the young man and that he 
should not be reinstated. In cases of this sort, the interest 
of the union in a well-conducted shop coincides, to a certain 
extent, with that of the employer, since the habitual misbe- 
havior of one worker, if imchecked, may eventually demoral- 
ize the entire shop. 

The imicm further holds itself ready to enforce, at the em- 
ployer's request, the worker's obligation to give reasonable 
notice before quitting his job when there is a shortage of 
Jielp in the market. Since this creates for the employer a like 
obligation toward the worker in the case of lay-off and on 
other occasions, such co-operation on the union's part is only 
good policy. 

Probably the most serious breach of shop discipline, which 



260 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

is at the same time a violation of the agreement, and, there- 
fore, of direct concern to the organization, is the stoppage or 
shop strike. This may be regarded as a survival of the time 
before collective bargaining and regular machinery for ad- 
justing complaints had been established in the industry. 
Stoppages were then not only frequent occurrences, some- 
times even taking on the dimensions and stubborn character 
of an actual strike, but they were unavoidable as a way for 
the workers to obtain attention for their grievances. They 
were explosions of rebellious feeling bound to result under 
a system of repressive shop government that refused to take 
the human instincts of the workers into account. Under that 
system there could be no parley between workers and man- 
agement, for the workers' spokesman would be liable to 
prompt discharge for his pains, and certainly would be re- 
garded as an undesirable agitator. 

This state of affairs has radically altered in consequence 
of the coming of the union and orderly government into the 
industry. No longer are absolute powers wielded by fore- 
men over their workers without regard to these workers' 
rights and wants. Instead, we now have foremen shorn of 
all arbitrary power and even the higher officials of manage- 
ment exercising what authority remains to them subject to 
the restraints of law, established procedure, and judicial re- 
view. Instead of an occasional spokesman risking his job 
for his fellow workers in presenting their grievances, they 
have regularly elected and duly recognized representatives 
in every shop, who enjoy not only immunity from persecu- 
tion but also the courtesy and respect due union officials in 
dealing with the management. And, finally, instead of 
grievances accumulating until they become unbearable and 
find vent in sporadic revolt, every grievance or dispute can 
be effectively aired and adjusted through the legally estab- 
lished channels, as it arises. 

And still there are stoppages of work. They occur less 
often and involve less bitterness than formerly, but they in- 
terrupt production and may entail loss of earnings to other 
workers. From the standpoint of reasonable adjustment 



DISCIPLINE AND DISCHARGE 



261 



of differences, stoppages represent a step backward. They 
are a form of direct action that is both wasteful and unneces- 
sary because other methods of redress are available. In view 
of this wastefulness of stoppages as regards both workers' 
earnings and shop production, and also because of their un- 
dermining effect upon the authority and prestige of the union 
itself, stoppages have been outlawed under the agreement. 
They are specifically forbidden and the union accepts re- 
sponsibility for suppressing them. Under these circum- 
stances, a stoppage, from being merely a question of shop 
discipline — ^a problem primarily for the employer — ^may be- 
come a matter of organization discipline — a problem for the 
union. For it is at this point that the union is concerned 
not merely with maintaining the flow of production but also 
with vindicating its authority and prestige with the member- 
ship. 

In carrying out its police function in cases of stoppages 
the union, through its officials, appeals to the workers con- 
cerned to return to their places in the shop and to resume 
operations. Sometimes the authority of the shop chairman 
is insufficient to secure compliance and it is necessary for a 
deputy of the organization to be called in. The procedure 
as well as the law on the subject may be illustrated by the 
following case:*^® A firm complained that an entire coat shop 
had stopped work for four hours, and requested the Trade 
Board to impose " such discipline as it deems just to prevent 
a recurrence of this violation and restore order in this shop." 
The stoppage had developed out of the lay-off of an off- 
presser, who, before leaving the shop acted in a manner to 
rouse sympathy for himself among other workers. As he 
left, first some and then all except the shop chairman stopped 
work. The shop chairman failed in his effort to get them 
to resume. So did a deputy sent by the manager of the 
.union. It was only when the regular deputy for the shop 
came in that they retiumed to work. In ruling on this case, 
the chairman of the Trade Board gave the following opin- 
ion: " With operation under the agreement for more than 
a year and a half, and with explanations and orders from 



262 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

the shop chairman and a deputy, the Trade Board sees no 
excuse for the behavior in this instance. The workers grossly 
violated the agreement, which explicitly provides that there 
shall be no stoppages or interruptions of work and provides 
a reasonable way to see that justice shall be done. They 
have not acted as intelligent and responsible members of the 
Amalgamated, which, as shown by its eflforts, deplores such 
action." As a penalty, the Board imposed on every partici- 
pant in the stoppage a fine equal to four hours' earnings, the 
money to be applied by the Trade Board to relieving cases 
of need. 

The union has, in the course of time, come to assume the 
full responsibility for suppressing and preventing unauthor- 
ized stoppages by its members. In a case*^^ similar to the 
above, all the workers in a coat shop stopped work when a 
pocket maker was discharged, although the cause for his dis- 
charge was apparently imknown to them at the time. Both 
the deputy and the shop chairman tried to get the people to 
resimie work and fiinally took them to union headquarters. 
But while some on returning to the shop resimi^ work, 
others still refused and demanded the reinstatement of the 
worker. The Trade Board in its decision stated that the 
firm would have been justified under the agreement in dis- 
charging these recalcitrant ones. Technically speaking, the 
firm had this right and was inclined to invoke it, but prac- 
tically it saw an advantage in leaving discipline of the oflFend- 
ers to the imion. 

The union, through the agreement, denies the employer 
the right to discharge automatically workers who participate 
in a stoppage, except in aggravated instances like the one 
just cited where they fail to return within a specified time 
of being ordered back by the union. The organization is 
therefore imder the obligation as well as under the incentive 
to see that its orders to such workers to resume work are 
obeyed. Stoppages are in violation of the agreement. The 
union is as much concerned as the employer in making sure 
that the agreement is lived up to. The power to enforce 
observance by its members of the terms of the agreement, 



DISCIPLINE AND DISCHARGE 



268 



i.e., its disciplinary control over the membership, is indirectly 
involved. It is the basis for the union's claim that it is able 
to carry out the obligations assumed by it under the agree- 
ment. Upon that control over its own members, moreover, 
rests the right of the union to protect against automatic dis- 
charge those of their members who violate the agreement by 
taking part in stoppages. 

The habit of resorting to stoppages of work is still fairly 
strong among the rank and file of clothing workers. It is 
the habit of striking or striking back when the method of 
peaceful adjustment seems too roundabout or too slow. It 
is this impatience or lack of confidence in the processes of 
adjustment by conference or judicial hearing and decision 
that accoimts for much of the difficulty imion officials meet 
in ordering workers to abandon a stoppage. Nevertheless, 
the total elimination of stoppages is now an avowed purpose 
of the organization. It places sufficient confidence in the 
workings of the impartial machinery as an instrument of 
justice to be willing to disarm to this extent. Furthermore, 
it is committed to carry out this policy of its own initiative 
and actively to support the impartial machinery in its efforts 
to the same end. The task of abolishing stoppages, however, 
is not to be accomplished by fiat or resolution. It means 
uprooting habits of long standing — omental habits bred by 
bitter experience in the years when nothing but an open show 
of force would avail against the employer's force. It is a 
task of education requiring time and effort rather than severe 
measiu*es of repression. For, ultimately, it aims at nothing 
less than preparing the workers for full citizenship in the 
industry — a citizenship capable of supporting a civilized shop 
government, as distinguished from the rule of violence and 
reprisal. In the meantime, the union is exerting its authority 
and moral influence to create this new attitude on the part 
of the membership. And the impartial machinery is increas- 
ingly relying on these educational efforts of the union for 
the gradual elimination of stoppages altogether. 

The manner in which the union acts not only to combat an 
existing stoppage but also to discourage future stoppages 






264 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

may be seen from the following case :^® The cutters in a 
certain house stopped work as a protest against the 
discharge of a fellow worker. They refused to resume 
though instructed to do so by the shop chairman, the fore- 
man, the superintendent, and the labor manager, and even 
by the union deputy over the telephone. It was not until the 
deputy came in person that they returned to work. The 
Trade Board in its opinion on the case declared: " Every 
stoppage is a flagrant violation of the agreement. The Trade 
Board is determined to put an end to stoppages and has 
every confidence that the union will co-operate to that end. 
In this case the union deputy has held a shop meeting and 
exacted a promise from every worker that a stoppage would 
not be participated in again." 

Inasmuch as the transfer of disciplinary power from the 
employer to the impartial machinery takes place in the inter- 
est of the rule of reason and law, it follows that the imion 
itself must bow to this new authority. The union no less 
than the employer becomes subject to the law of the industry 
as it is laid down in the agreement and developed through 
the decisions of the impartial chairman. The union no less 
than the employer becomes accountable to the impartial ma- 
chinery, as the embodiment of the law, for the proper en- 
forcement of its decisions and orders. In fact, in the lan- 
guage of an opinion by the Board of Arbitration,^^ " the 
firms and the deputies are the agents of the impartial ma- 
chinery^ in carrying out decisions from which they do not 
appeal." The union to this extent becomes the custodian of 
the law, charged with the responsibility of upholding it 
against infraction by its own members. 

But the union is not, primarily, a policeman. It is first of 
all the spokesman and defender of the workers over against 
their employers. It cannot be expected, therefore, to take 
the initiative in shop discipline, except where the integrity 
of the agreement is involved. In that case, the union inter- 
venes to protect its members against themselves. Its func- 
tion as disciplinarian— apart from maintaining organization 
discipline within— is, rather, that of putting into effect meas- 



DISCIPLIXE AND DISCHARGE 



265 



ures ordered or recommended by the Trade Board against 
its members. In this it takes over what would otherwise be 
a function of the employer or of the management. Thus, 
for example, in a case where the Trade Board had decreed 
a fine against a group of cutters for an imlawful stoppage, 
the fine was to be deducted from their wages by the em- 
ployer. The union appealed the case to the Board of Arbi- 
tration,*^ with the result that this Board ruled that " with 
reference to the method of collecting fines, it may well be 
that it would be better to collect them through the shop chair- 
man or the union than through the firm as has tended to 
become customary in this market." 

In another case^^ a cutter asked for a release, and on be- 
ing refused instead of taking the matter up with his 
shop chairman tried to invite discharge by threatening and 
insulting the foreman. The Trade Board in pointing out 
that mere discharge would not be discipline in this case, since 
it would but meet the cutter's request, ordered that he be 
discharged and directed the union not to transfer him to an- 
other cutting room for a period of four days thereafter. 

In other situations the co-operation of the union with the 
impartial machinery takes the form of education and advice 
rather than of punishment of delinquent workers. Thus, 
in the case of a certain stoppage,*^ the Trade Board found 
that " a number of the workers in this case claimed that they 
did not know of the provision against stoppages. If this is 
true," the chairman observed, " the union should be at pains 
to see to it that every worker is acquainted with the terms 
of the agreement and the method of procedure in case of 
complaint." In dealing with another stoppage,** the Trade 
Board, after reprimanding the workers participating in it, 
charged the union with "the responsibility of impressing 
upon them that stoppages are in violation of the agreement 
and contrary to the principles of the organization." And 
then, referring to the low morale in the shop, the Board con- 
cluded : " The union is seeking to co-operate with the firm 
in bringing about better discipline. This * * ♦ should 
be kept constantly in mind and emphasized to the workers 



266 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 



at shop meetings." In still another stoppage case,*' the 
Trade Board, having ordered the discharge of several in- 
stigators, directed the union " to take active measures to 
put an end to stoppages." 

Where the stoppage grows out of the workers' fixed belief 
that direct action is justifiable under conditions of provoca- 
tion, the need for enlightenment at the hands of the union 
is particularly urgent. In such a case,** the Trade Board 
declared that " it does not recognize that stoppages are ever 
justified under the agreement. These workers feel, appar- 
ently, that some complaints can be adjusted in no other way 
than by stopping work. That attitude, if persisted in, is as 
certain to undermine effective control by the organization 
as it is to break down the spirit of the agreement which means 
nothing if not the substitution of orderly processes for direct 
action. It is clear that educational work is badly needed 
with this group of workers if they are to measure up as mem- 
bers of the Amalgamated. The Board * ♦ * expects 
the union to keep constantly before the workers their obliga- 
tions under the agreement." 

In obstinate cases, where a severe strain is put on the 
authority of union officials in their eflforts to call off the stop- 
page, the union may be even more concerned than the em- 
ployer in the immediate success of these efforts. Such out- 
breaks are capable of shaking the very foundations of the 
fabric of coDective bargaining. For this rests, after all, on 
the power of the organization to guarantee performance by 
its members of their obligations under the agreement. In 
cases of this type, the Trade Board leaves to the union's dis- 
cretion the specific remedy to be applied, since the offense 
is one not merely against shop discipline and agreement, but 
against the authority of the organization as well. In one in- 
stance of this sort,*^ the deputy came to the shop and suc- 
ceeded in putting the people back to work. He left the 
shop and in about five minutes the people stopped again and 
remained idle imtil the end of the worWng day. After hear- 
ing the case brought by the employer, the Trade Board 
stated that " the stoppage was not only an act of contempt 



DISCIPLINE AND DISCHARGE 



267 



for the orderly procedure established by agreement, but was 
an offense against the organization and the deputy * ♦ *. 
The workers deliberately disregarded the instructions of the 
deputy and indulged in another stoppage as soon as the 
deputy left the shop. The organization cannot afford in 
its own interest to permit so flagrant a disregard of authority 
to go unchallenged. The Board places upon the union the 
responsibiUty of seeing to it that these workers are not in 
doubt as to their obligations to the organization and under 
the agreement, and warns the workers that severe discipline 
must be imposed by the Trade Board if the offense is re- 
peated." 

In another stoppage of this character,** occasioned by the 
employment of an apprentice, the cutters in question were 
ordered to resume work by the foreman, the shop chairman, 
the union deputy (over the telephone) and by the coat shop 
deputy in person. In defiance of all orders, according to 
the firm's complaint, they steadfastly refused to work until 
sometime after Union Deputy G. arrived on the scene. The 
union at the hearing of this case volunteered to apply its 
own discipline, giving assurance to the Trade Board " that 
a thorough investigation would be made, individual respon- 
sibility determined, and smnmary action taken, even to the 
extent of removing from the cutting room those found 
guilty." The Trade Board, in acceding to the union's sug- 
gestion to assume the punishment of its insubordinate mem- 
bers, pointed out that " their offense consisted not alone in 
violating the agreement; they ignored, in fact, the acts of 
their own organization in protesting the employment of an 
apprentice sent to the firm by the organization. Because 
of this the Board believes that the organization should have 
the opportunity of measuring out its own discipline. It 
will be better for the organization and will accomplish, from 
the standpoint of the agreement, all that Trade Board disci- 
pline would accomplish." 

As a result of such enlargement of the imion's responsibil- 
ity and power in matters of discipline, there is growing up 
an effective co-operation between it and the Trade Board 



268 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

that enhances the authority of both in the government of the 
shop. Incidentally, it creates an increasing reliance by the 
Board upon the organization as an executive organ of this 
government. As has already appeared in the matter of stop- 
pages in particular, the imion's co-operation may take the 
form not only of the direct application of its own penalties 
to offending members, but also of educational and moral 
pressure exerted upon them. Thus, the union may offer to 
stand surety for a member who otherwise would incur pun- 
ishment by order of the Trade Board, which punishment 
would be carried out by the employer. By way of illustra- 
tion, there is the case of B,®* a trimmer discharged for wast- 
ing time, low production, and cleaning up before quitting 
time. Though the evidence against B was weighty, the Trade 
Board directed his reinstatement on the strength of the 
union's promise that he should cease wasting time, obey 
orders, and increase his production at least to his former 
rating. 



{ -: 



ORGANIZATION DISCIPLINE— SHOP CHAIRMEN 

As the principles of collective bargaining come to be ap- 
plied to more and more of the relations between the workers 
and the industry, the union acquires constantly new and 
larger functions. It extends its control gradually over all 
the questions of shop government — questions affecting not 
merely the conditions of work and pay but also the rights and 
duties of the workers in the shop. The shop itself has be- 
come the main theatre for the union's activity: the field for 
the exercise of its rights and powers on behalf of its mem- 
bers. The rights and powers of management, to be sure, 
remain as before in the hands of the employer. But they 
are no longer exclusive rights: their exercise is limited at 
every point by the rights and interests of the workers. And 
these rights and interests are expanding. The workers 
through their organization are thus gradually acquiring a 
permanent stake in the industry itself, and an effective voice 



DISCIPLINE AND DISCHARGE 



269 



in its management, at least in so far as the control of their 
own lot as workers is concerned. 

But as the extension of the union's function into the sphere 
of management proceeds, it follows inevitably that along 
with its new rights and powers the union takes on corre- 
sponding responsibilities and obligations. These take the 
form of organization discipline, control over its own member- 
ship. Organization discipline is needful from two points of 
view: that of conflict with the employers, and that of co- 
operation with them. In case of strike, for example, the 
union acts as an army with centralized command and \^dlling 
support from the ranks. In ordinary times this solidarity 
is somewhat relaxed, but it cannot be abandoned entirely 
without risk of losing what has been won by struggle and 
sacriflce. The collective agreement registers these gains; 
but it does not of itself guarantee their maintenance. The 
enforcement of the agreement, so far as the workers' inter- 
ests are concerned, rests ultimately with the workers' or- 
ganization. And the power of the organization to make 
such enforcement effective depends upon the degree of disci- 
pline within its ranks. On the other hand, the spirit of the 
agreement demands that while the workers' rights under it 
are to be enforced, their obligations under it shall also be 
observed and the power of the union shall be employed if 
necessary to enforce their observance. The effect of this is 
to extend the sphere of organization discipline right into the 
shop and to make the union responsible, in so far, for shop 
discipline, production, and even the general welfare of the 
industry in the market. 

The need of a strong and stable union to uphold the col- 
lective standards of the industry against anarchic competi- 
tion not only on the side of individual employers but also 
of individual workers, i.e., against its own members, is fully 
recognized. In view of this need the agreement provides for 
the strengthening and stabilizing of the union by various 
means. Among these is the reinforcement of organization 
discipline and of the authority of organization officials at the 
hands of the impartial machinery. Under the Hart, Schaff- 



f 



270 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

ner and Marx agreement " the Trade Board and Board of 
Arbitration are authorized to hear complaints from the 
miion concerning the discipline of its members and to take 
any action necessary to conserve the interests of the Agree- 
ment." Under this clause the union is able to secure the 
support of the impartial machinery on behalf of the collection 
of dues and assessments from its delinquent members. The 
performance by a union worker of his membership obliga- 
tions and his observance of the rules of his organization have 
become a concern of the Trade Board, inasmuch as the 
strength and discipline of the union are recognized as essen- 
tial to the maintenance of the agreement. 

In one case before the Trade Board^^ the imion asked for 
discipline of V, a member who had failed to pay his assess- 
ment quota. V stated that he would pay $10 on account by 
Friday of that week. His promise was accepted by the union 
and the Trade Board, with the stipulation by the Board that 
if he does not pay $10 on Friday he will be subject to dis- 
charge at the close of work that evening. 

A similar case^^ is that of P, whom the union brought be- 
fore the Trade Board for discipline for refusing to pay his 
dues and assessments. The Trade Board was not impressed 
by the excuses that P gave for failure to pay, as he was evi- 
dently in better financial condition than most of the workers. 
The Trade Board therefore directed that P was to go to the 
union office and pay his back dues and assessments by Mon- 
day evening and was to secure an O. K. to that effect from 
the deputy before being permitted to work Tuesday morning. 

In another case" the union requested the discharge of a 
trinuner who had been suspended from the union for refusing 
to pay a fine duly imposed by the organization. The firm 
protested that the worker had been fined for " refusing to 
obey an order of the assistant shop chairman, which order 
was contrary to an order of the foreman." The Trade Board, 
in granting the union's request, found " nothing unreasonable 
in the rule of the union that workers must carry out the in- 
structions of the shop chairman or shop representative. On 
the contrary, the union cannot maintain discipline otherwise." 



DISCIPLINE AND DISCHARGE 



271 




Officers and Executive Board Members, Pant Makers 

Local 144 




Officers and Executive Board Members, Vest Makers 

Local 154 



Hi JMU l^^^r ^^^^H! 






t 









Officers and Executive Board Members, Cloth Exam- 
iners and Spongers Local 271 



I 



and the union's right of discipline over its members who 
fail to carry out the rules of the organization was sustained 
by the Trade Board on the ground that, without it, " there 
is no assurance that it can maintain that degree of control 
essential to the effectiveness of the agreement." The Board 
accordingly ruled that the trinuner in question " may not be 
employed by this firm at this time unless he is reinstated as 
a member of the union." 

Not only does the impartial machinery strengthen the 
union's hand in matters of internal control, but also in the 
case of shop chairmen who fail in their duties as officials is 
the union given fairly broad discretion in the application 
of its own discipline. The shop chairman being accountable 
for his conduct in the shop to the organization, insofar as 
he acts in his official capacity, it is expedient to charge the 
organization with his discipline. In a Trade Board case^^ 
involving this question of the union's right to impose its own 
discipline upon a shop chairman who had employed abusive 
language to a fellow worker in the shop, the Board ruled as 
follows : " The Trade Board has gone on record previously 
as favoring discipline by the union through its own agencies 
in cases involving the relationship of union members and 
where there is indication that the discipline will be effective. 
It is as much to the interest of the union as to the interest of 
the firm to see to it that the shop chairman enjoys the confi- 
dence and respect of his fellow-workers. The Trade Board 
directs that the union advise the action taken by the Execu- 
tive Board with respect to the charge * * *." 

In an opinion by the Board of Arbitration^* approving 
this policy, it declared that "the Trade Board has acted 
wisely in withholding decisions in some cases in order to give 
the union opportunity to make a needed change (in its shop 
representative), for this gives the best assurance against un- 
wise selections to fill a vacancy * * *." 

Since the shop chairman is responsible to the organization 
for his conduct as an official, his discipline is to that extent 
a matter of internal discipline. But even in his capacity as 
worker the behavior of the shop chairman is of concern to 



I 



DISCIPLINE AND DISCHARGE 



271 




Officers and Executive Board Members, Pant ^lakers 

Local 144 






I7t ^ EgTt^JE^ -- 



Officers and Executive Board Members, \'est Makers 

Local 154 




Officers and Executive Board Menibers, Clotli Exam- 
iners and Spongers Local 271 



and the union's right of discipline over its members who 
fail to carry out the rules of the organization was sustained 
by the Trade Board on the ground that, without it, " there 
is no assurance that it can maintain that degree of control 
essential to the effectiveness of the agreement." The Board 
accordingly ruled that the trimmer in question " may not be 
employed by this firm at this time unless he is reinstated as 
a member of the union." 

Not only does the impartial machinery strengthen the 
union's hand in matters of internal control, but also in the 
case of shop chairmen who fail in their duties as officials is 
the union given fairly broad discretion in the application 
of its own discipline. The shop chairman being accountable 
for his conduct in the shop to the organization, insofar as 
he acts in his official capacity, it is expedient to charge the 
organization with his discipline. In a Trade Board case'^ 
involving this question of the union's right to impose its own 
discipline upon a shop chairman who had employed abusive 
language to a fellow worker in the shop, the Board ruled as 
follows: " The Trade Board has gone on record previously 
as favoring discipline by the union through its own agencies 
in cases involving the relationship of union members and 
where there is indication that the discipline will be effective. 
It is as much to the interest of the union as to the interest of 
the firm to see to it that the shop chairman enjoys the confi- 
dence and respect of his fellow-workers. The Trade Board 
directs that the union advise the action taken by the Execu- 
tive Board with respect to the charge * * *." 

In an opinion by the Board of Arbitration'* approving 
this policy, it declared that " the Trade Board has acted 
wisely in withholding decisions in some cases in order to give 
the union opportunity to make a needed change (in its shop 
representative), for this gives the best assurance against un- 
wise selections to fill a vacancy * * *." 

Since the shop chairman is responsible to the organization 
for his conduct as an official, his discipline is to that extent 
a matter of internal discipline. But even in his capacity as 
worker the behavior of the shop chairman is of concern to 



272 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 



DISCIPLINE AND DISCHARGE 



273 



the union, and his discipline at least partly under its control. 
A case in point^** is that of J, a shop chairman, who was dis- 
charged by the firm after having been caught " fooling 
around " a number of times. The Trade Board found that 
discipline had been lax in that department and that " horse- 
play " and fooling around had been engaged in. The Board 
nevertheless disallowed the discharge on the ground that al- 
though J had been falling down as shop chairman, these facts 
had not been " brought to the attention of the union, as is 
expected in the case of shop chairmen. The evidence shows 
that J's record was carefully followed by the deputy for two 
or three months after he was sent into this place and that 
he was reported to be satisfactory. The firm has not in- 
formed the deputy of any change in the record, and this 
is expected in the case of shop chairmen." 

The question of disciplinary^ jurisdiction over union offi- 
cials in the shop came up before the Board of Arbitration^® 
on request by the Trade Board for an interpretation of the 
clause in the Hart, Schaffner and Marx agreement, which 
reads as follows : " Complaint against members of the Trade 
Board as workmen are to be made by the foreman to the 
Trade Board." The company contended that this clause did 
not render a shop chairman immune to suspension for 
breaches of discipline and misconduct, as contrasted with 
complaint as to his work. The Board of Arbitration decided 
unanimously that the above procedure should apply to all 
cases of complaint against shop chairmen as workmen, and 
stated: " This extension of the procedure is intended to give 
additional dignity to the union officials in order that they 
may co-operate more efficiently in carrying out the purposes 
of the agreement * * *." In a later decision,^^ dealing with 
a case on appeal, the chairman of the Board of Arbitration 
took occasion to urge upon aU labor managers in the market 
that " in the cases of discipline which involve shop chairmen 
they shall proceed by filing charges before the Trade Board 
rather than by summary action. In many cases, of course, 
the best method will be to proceed by bringing the matter 
first of all to the attention of the union deputy." 



By thus removing shop chairmen for all practical purposes 
from the disciplinary control of the employer, the union gains 
greater freedom of action in the shop — a freedom of action 
that is necessary in the interest of efficient administration of 
the agreement. Besides this immunity to company disci- 
pline, the shop chairman enjoys certain rights and preroga- 
tives that pertain to his office and in which he is protected by 
the impartial machinery. These rights and prerogatives, 
conceded to him in the name of the organization, extend to 
all matters of organization business that must be transacted 
on the floor of the shop. On this point the Hart, Schaffner 
and Marx agreement provides, in part, as follows: " The 
union shall have in each shop a duly accredited representa- 
tive authorized by the Joint Board who shall be recognized 
as the oflScer of the union having charge of complaints and 
organization matters within the shop * * *. It is under- 
stood the shop representative shall be entitled to collect dues 
and perform such other duties as may be imposed on him 
by the Union, provided they be performed in such manner 
as not to interfere with shop discipline and efficiency." 

Claiming the protection of this provision of the agreement 
for all workers in the market, the union complained in one 
instance^^ of the rule of a firm requiring the special sanction 
of the labor manager for the distribution by the shop chair- 
man during working hours of any printed matter, appeals 
for contributions, etc. The Trade Board ruled that " with 
reference to collections other than of union dues and assess- 
ments, there should be none made on the floor except for 
such cases or causes as are approved by the representatives 
of the Union and the firm." As regards the giving out of 
handbills in the shop, however, the Board obsen^ed that '* a 
shop chairman naturally dislikes to be placed in the position 
of having official announcements of his organization passed 
on, even as a formal matter, by a labor manager. The Trade 
Board feels that the firm's rule should be revised so as not to 
apply to the distribution of announcements of union meet- 
ings, classes, concerts, lectures and (union) elections." 

In another case"* a firm brought complaint against a shop 



I!' 



274 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

chairman for unnecessary activity on the floor of the shop 
during working hours, specifically for selling union picnic 
tickets to the workers. In disallowing the firm's complaint, 
the Trade Board held that " Tickets for the annual picnic 
of the Union were disposed of to workers in all the shops in 
the market. It may be regarded as union business and the 
rule (that the conduct of union business is not to interfere 
with shop efficiency), applies." 

Most of the rights and powers accorded by the agreement 
to the union in the shop are exercised by the shop chairman. 
It has already been shown that the shop chairman enjoys a 
special position among workers with reference to discipline 
and discharge, which in his case rests with the Trade Board 
and the union. In so far as his official duties require, more- 
over, he is entitled to special consideration in respect to his 
production or output. The minimum standard, to be sure, 
is fixed for him as for any other worker by the record made 
during his probationary period on the job. For " the shop 
chairman is a worker, and if he is going to be a good chair- 
man he must be a good, conscientious worker." But an al- 
lowance is made in his favor on account of time spent by him 
in conducting necessary union business during working 
hours. In one case®*^ the firm requested the discharge of a 
shop chairman on the ground that his production had fallen 
considerably below his probationary performance. The 
Trade Board ruled that " the firm has a right to expect him 
to maintain that standard when the work is on the floor. 
Some allowance should be made on account of his being shop 
chairman, but this should not affect his production materially. 
The Trade Board directs that he be placed on probation with 
the explicit understanding that he is to come up to the stan- 
dard * * ♦ less an allowance because of his duties as 
shop chairman." 

Obviously, such an allowance cannot cover more than this. 
It cannot be used to shield a shop chairman from the con- 
sequences of inefficiency as a workman. In one case," the 
company asked for the discharge of P, a shop chairman in 
the cutting room, basing its request on P's production rec- 



DISCIPLINE AND DISCHARGE 



275 



ord. The company considered his falling off in production 
so unexplainable as to indicate deliberate waste of effort 
on his part. The Trade Board, however, held that if P's 
lack of production was due to his official duties, as he claimed, 
that could be made manifest by relieving him of his official 
responsibilities, thus enabling him to give all his time to 
cutting. The Trade Board accordingly recommended "that 
P be withdrawn as a union official and given the same status 
as a regular cutter. This should enable him to recover his 
former production." 

In a similar case,®* the company complained of one F, 
shop steward, on the ground of habitual tardiness and low 
production, and requested discipline. On the basis of his 
production record, which was far below average, the Trade 
Board was of the opinion that " F's low production cannot 
be accounted for except on two grounds: either he is delib- 
erately laying down on his work or he spends so much time 
on his duties as a union official as to reduce his production 
so seriously. In view of this consideration, the Trade Board 
reconmiends that F be withdrawn by the union as shop stew- 
ard and be given an opportunity to advance his production 
without being hindered by any official duties. This should 
also improve his record for tardiness." 

The scope of the shop chairman's authority as representa- 
tive of the workers in relation to the management is defined 
broadly in the agreement in these terms: " He shall be em- 
powered to receive complaints and be given sufficient oppor- 
tunity and range of action to enable him to make proper in- 
quiry concerning them." Questions frequently arise over 
the limits of his authority in practice, where it confficts with 
the authority of the foreman or other representatives of man- 
agement. Thus, in one case,®^ where the employer had com- 
plained of a shop chairman giving orders to the people con- 
trary to the orders of the management, the Trade Board 
ruled that a shop chairman " should know that he has no 
authority to contradict or countermand orders of the man- 
agement, but he has full right to complain and protest 
against an order." In another case** the Trade Board held 



i 



276 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

that " the shop chairman has no business to ring the bell " 
at quitting time, this being the function of the time-keeper. 
Furthermore, " a shop chairman is not to run around the 
shop looking for or making trouble." 

In the matter of disputed work, for example, " a shop 
chairman is presumed only to take up cases brought to his 
attention with a request, not to take the initiative in holding 
for investigation." " But he does have the right to take up 
complaints of workers on the floor, and, if necessary, to leave 
his place of work to do so." In the words of a Trade Board 
decision,®^ " Shop chairmen under the agreement have the 
right to transact union business on the floor of their factory, 
and if this business requires them to go to another factory (of 
the same firm), imdoubtedly permission can be gotten, but it 
must be applied for, and cannot be assumed. A shop chair- 
man possessing authority as an official of his union can 
always afford to be courteous and observe the rules of the 
game. If a reasonable request is refused he can bring com- 
plaint." And on his part, in all his relations with the manage- 
ment, he is entitled to recognition and courteous treatment :** 
" The shop chairman is to be dealt with as the representative 
of the workers and accorded the same courtesy that repre- 
sentatives of the firm have a right to expect." 

The rights and powers of the shop chairman, however, 
are not personal privileges and immunities enjoyed by him 
as an individual. They are directly related to his duties 
and responsibilities as a representative of the union in the 
shop. Thus, while the shop chairman may, when necessary, 
** leave his place to investigate complaints," this right is 
qualified by considerations of general discipline and effi- 
ciency in the shops. For " the foreman may, if he deems it 
necessary, ask to be informed of the purpose of his move- 
ments, and the representative (shop chairman) shall comply 
with his request." The agreement contemplates, moreover, 
that the relations of the shop chairman to the management 
shall be dignified and mutually helpful rather than strained 
or based on a contest of authority and technical rights. In 
any situation involving friction between the workers and the 



DISCIPLINE AND DISCHARGE 



277 



firm, the shop chairman's function is to uphold orderly pro- 
cedure as against direct action. ** It is expected," declares 
the agreement, " that he will represent the cooperative spirit 
of the agreement in the shop, and shall be the leader in pro- 
moting that amity and spirit of good will which it is the 
purpose of this instrument to establish." 

In a case before the Trade Board®* a firm complained of 
a shop chairman on the ground of lack of cooperation and 
general incompetence. The Board, after concluding from 
the evidence that this official had not taken the proper atti- 
tude toward the management, but had magnified his author- 
ity, declared that " a shop chairman should be able to pro- 
tect the interests of the workers at every point and at the 
same time convince the management of his fairness and 
willingness to cooperate * * *. When a worker is in the 
wrong, it is as much the duty of the shop chairman to tell 
him so as it is the right and duty of the shop chairman to 
defend the worker when the firm is in the wrong." As a 
representative of the organization, the shop chairman is ex- 
pected to uphold both purposes of the agreement: that of 
efficient production as well as that of an efficient imion, and 
both are to be promoted by methods of reasonable adjust- 
ment. 

Among the various duties of the shop chairman is that of 
forestalling resort to direct action or other infractions of 
the agreement by the workers in the shop. Many stoppages, 
for example, are due to the workers' fear, sometimes un- 
founded, that the employer is trying to " put something 
over." Whenever, in particular, the management under- 
takes to put into operation some new or changed method of 
work that might conceivably affect the workers' standards, 
their suspicion and consequently their opposition are 
promptly aroused. The innovation may be trivial or its 
effect on earnings may have been foreseen by the firm and 
duly referred to the price committee for adjustment of the 
piece rate. But this is not sufficient. The workers affected 
by the change must be informed of whatever joint arrange- 
ment has been made, if any, between the firm and the union 



il 



278 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

representative. They must be assured that their interests 
are fully safeguarded under the new method and that they 
are justified in doing the work as ordered. This is the duty 
of the shop chairman in the situation, he being the repre- 
sentative of the union on the ground. It is for him to com- 
municate to the people in the shop the action of the union on 
their behalf, so that there be no misimderstanding and no 
interruption of work. If he is efficient in protecting the 
workers' interests at every critical juncture, there need be no 
attempt on their part to take matters into their own hands. 

To illustrate:®^ A firm complained of a stoppage by its 
brushers, who had refused to baste vents. The deputy and 
the firm had agreed a week before on a price for this new 
work. Though the shop chairman was informed of the price 
agreed upon he failed to explain it to the brushers, hence 
their refusal to do the work when ordered. The chairman 
of the Trade Board stated at the hearing that " there is no 
reason why the workers should not have been advised ex- 
plicitly what they were to do and what they were to receive 
for doing it. The shop chairman had ample time to do this 
but whether from indifference or ignorance as to his duties, 
made no attempt to prepare the workers for the additional 
operation and seemingly made little effort to end the mis- 
understanding after it had arisen." And, then, by way of 
impressing upon the shop chairman his responsibility in such 
situations, the chairman of the Board concluded: ** If this is 
a fair sample of the way he measures up as shop chairman, 
the union will do well to see to it that he is replaced by a 
worker who has more initiative and some sense of the re- 
sponsibility that attaches to the office of shop chairman." 

Ini another case,®* where stoppage was occasioned by the 
employment of an assistant foreman] previously employed by 
a non-union house, the shop chairman and the deputy were 
censured by the Trade Board for failure to prevent it. The 
Board found that " what this shop needs is stronger leader- 
ship — someone who will impress upon the workers that com- 
plaints are not to be adjusted by stoppages; and who is con- 
stantly on the job to prevent trouble." 



I 




DISCIPLINE AND DISCHARGE 



279 



The shop chairman is at all times and under all circum- 
stances bound to use his authority for law and order as em- 
bodied in the agreement. For him to order a stoppage or to 
incite it in any manner is a misuse of his power and a viola- 
tion of his trust as an official. In one instance of this kind,®® 
the Trade Board held that " the shop chairman knows that 
stoppages are forbidden by agreement, but seems to feel that 
in cases of extreme provocation there is nothing else to do 
but display authority. This attitude cannot be permitted on 
the part of a shop chairman who is supposed to be the repre- 
sentative of the organization in the shop and to be zealous 
in upholding orderly procedure." 

Corresponding to the right accorded the shop chairman by 
the agreement to be " recognized as the officer of the union 
having charge of complaints * ♦ * within the shop," 
he is charged with the responsibility of taking up with the 
management all complaints of fellow workers brought to 
his attention. The individual bargaining that once obtained 
between foreman or superintendent and the particular worker 
complaining or complained of, easily led to injustice and 
recrimination or even to personal violence. Today the worker 
is represented by his shop chairman, who not only under- 
stands the concrete background of the complaint but also 
stands on the jointly accepted principles of the agreement, 
and can, if necessary, appeal to the power of the union and 
the impartial machinery to back him up. Under these cir- 
cumstances the worker has no justification or need for re- 
sorting to direct action in any form in cases of dispute with 
the foreman. When such clashes do occur, they are fre- 
quently due to some failure on the part of the shop chairman 
either to be called in or to function properly as an official 
of the union. The latter situation is illustrated in the case 
of a cutter*^ discharged after an altercation with the foreman 
over his production. At the hearing the shop chairman sup- 
ported the cutter's testimony that he worked steadily and 
honestly at his board, also that the cutter came to him com- 
plaining that the foreman " picked on him " and the chair- 
man approved of the cutter going over to tell the foreman 



280 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

so and to challenge him to ^* lay off." The Trade Board 
ruled that the shop chairman had no business to permit the 
cutter to go over to the foreman and talk as he did. " If 
the man thought he was being picked on, the chairman should 
have handled his complaint. The chairman's statement that 
he thought it of no importance is not a satisfactory explana- 
tion." The worker's quarrel with the foreman beckme a con- 
cern of the union as soon as it was reported to the shop chair- 
man, and thereafter the union would bear the responsibility 
for the consequences. 



I 




H 



CHAPTER XII 

PROTECTION OF WORKING CONDITIONS 

The record given in the foregoing pages of the growth 
of constitutional checks upon the employer's discharge power 
means, from the worker's point of view, the achievement of 
a presumptive right to the job. This right is of prime im- 
portance and serv^es as a foundation for other rights that 
have been built upon it. The conditions that make the job 
a thing worth defending have themselves to be defended. 
In the present chapter it is intended to trace the development 
of the worker's right to the maintenance of the conditions 
and standards of his work. Those working conditions and 
standards are particularly exposed to a nibbling process 
whenever a change is ordered in the worker's assignment or 
method of operation within the factory. Accordingly, it is 
at such points that the union has struggled and succeeded 
in establishing the principle of protection for the worker's 
tenure of his job and for the customary conditions of his 
job against deterioration. 

THE TRANSFER OF WORKERS 

Among the administrative functions expressly reserved to 
the employer by the agreement is that of transferring work- 
ers within the establishment. The transfer may be made 
from one operation or section to another, from one method 
of work to another at a given operation, or under certain con- 
ditions from one form of compensation to another. The 
exercise by the employer of his power of transfer is, howeveri 
limited by consideration of the worker's rights and interests 
under the agreement. It is limited and controlled very much 
as are other administrative powers of management affecting 
workers, such as the power of discipline, of lay-oflf, etc. 
While the use of the right of transfer within these constitu- 
tional limits does not require justification by the employer. 



'1 



u 








282 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

at least the implicit assumption in every case is that it serves 
the ends of efficiency. In the language of the agreement, 

" The company has the right to transfer employes for pur- 
poses of administration or discipline, subject to review by the 
Trade Board. If the Board finds that any transfer is being 
made to lower wages, or for any discrimination or improper 
purpose, or if injustice is being done the worker by the transfer, 
the Board may adjust the complaint." 

The right to transfer workers for purposes of discipline 
is occasionally invoked by employers in preference to the 
harsher penalty of suspension. In view of the safeguards 
against abuse erected in the clause of the agreement just 
cited, it confers on the management no perilous power over 
the worker's conditions of employment. Even when transfer 
takes the form of a shift from week-work to piece-work, it 
must not have the effect of reducing the worker's earnings. 
The natural tendency of such a change is to stimulate him to 
greater effort in his work and to increase production. But 
so long as it does not unduly " speed up " the worker in the 
attempt to make his customary wage, it is often the most 
appropriate remedy against slacking. 

In an early case®^ involving this use of the pawer of 
transfer and decided on appeal by Mr. Williams, the issue 
presented itself in this form : " Has the company a right to 
transfer a worker for disciplinary purposes, especially to 
check * soldiering,' from week-work to piece-work?" And 
the conclusion was that " in the opinion of the chairman the 
company has the right, subject to review by the Trade Board. 
The facts in any such case may be investigated by the Board, 
and if it is found that the transfer is being made to lower 
wages, or for any discriminatory or improper purpose, or if 
injustice is being done the worker by such transfer, the Board . 
may take such action as in its judgment is necessary to give 
justice to the worker, whether by adjusting his earnings in 
the new position or by reinstating him in his old position." 

When workers are transferred for administrative reasons 
from the shop to a corresponding operation in another shop 
of the same firm, they are obliged to accept the conditions 



PROTECTING WORKING CONDITIONS 283 

and specifications of work obtaining in the section to which 
they are assigned. The only limitation imposed on the em- 
ployer in this connection is that the workers' wages shall not 
be lowered in consequence of the transfer, and their interests 
generally shall not be injured. In a case before the Trade 
Board^^ the union! asked for reinstatement with back pay of 
five second basters discharged for refusing to baste coats 
according to the method used in the shop to which they had 
been transferred. The company claimed it was simply seek- 
ing to secure conformity to the practice in this shop and was 
following a recognized usage which requires the person who 
is transferred to adopt the practice of the shop to which he is 
transferred. While directing the reinstatement of the men, 
the Trade Board denied the request of the union for back 
pay, on the ground that it could not treat the claim other 
than in similar cases in the past when a dispute had arisen 
about a specification and the usage in a shop. " In this in- 
stance the standard usage, as well as the language of the 
specifications, so far as it is definite, supports the company's 
position." 

The transfer of a worker from one shop to another involv- 
ing no material change in work or pay is clearly within the 
sphere of executive action by management. If the worker 
thus transferred believes himself disadvantaged in any re- 
spect, he may, of course, bring complaint through the regular 
channels. The case is somewhat different when the transfer 
is made from one section to another, thus entailing a change 
of work and earnings for the worker. If the new work is un- 
familiar, the problem presented is analogous to that where a 
major change of work is introduced in the section that neces- 
sitates a period of learning or re-adaptation to the new 
process. The worker is entitled to have his customary earn- 
ings maintained. That is to say, if necessary, he may demand 
to be paid temporarily on an hour basis. Whether the em- 
ployer is obliged to grant this demand or has the option of 
paying the transferred worker at the existing piece rate 
pending an adjustment by the price committee, seems to 



ft 



284 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

depend on the circumstances in the particular case, and has 
not been finaUy decided as a principle. 

One such case®'^ came up on appeal early in 1916, when a 
collar edge baster was suspended on the alleged ground of 
insubordination. She had been asked to do work in another 
section and declined to do it imless she was assured of hour- 
work pay. The manager held that the rule of the house did 
not require him to assiu*e her hour work but that she should 
accept the transfer either on hour or piece work, subject to 
later adjudication. Upon her refusal to accept the transfer 
on this basis, she was suspended, and the union then com- 
plained that the suspension was unjust and asked for back 
pay. In the absence of the other members of the Board of 
Arbitration, the chairman refrained from passing on the 
general issue of the right of a worker to refuse to accept the 
order of the foreman if it seems to him to be contrary to the 
provisions of the agreement. On the concrete issue of the 
claim of the company to transfer a worker from a slack sec- 
tion to a congested section at its option at the piece-work 
price of the latter, the chairman merely expressed doubt as 
to the soundness of the company's position. Later decisions 
have tended to establish the workers' right to refuse a trans- 
fer on terms that would entail a reduction of his customary 
earnings. Only, if the worker voluntarily accepts the trans- 
fer on the understanding that he is to be paid at the piece- 
work rate of the new operation, he has no grievance if his 
earnings should fall below his customary standard at his 
former operation. Insofar as the transfer is made by execu- 
tive action, the governing principle is that earnings shall be 
maintained. In the case of temporary transfer, at any rate, 
of piece workers to operations other than their own, their 
right to demand hour work has been definitely recognized. 

The considerations hmiting the employer in his exercise 
of the right of transfer of workers for administrative pur- 
poses may be illustrated in a special situation*^ where such 
transfers were made on an extensive scale. The situation was 
that of many firms which during the war undertook large 
orders for manufacturing army uniforms. This required 



PROTECTING WORKING CONDITIONS 285 

them to divert a considerable part of their working force and 
plant equipment to the new task, and consequently involved 
the transfer of many workers not only from civilian to army 
clothing but even from one operation to another, as the bal- 
ancing of sections might dictate. In the case of one im- 
portant firm having a large order for army overcoats, the 
first step was the drawing up by the price committee of a 
tentative scale of piece-work rates for all operations. The 
rates were so fixed as to enable the various sections employed 
on the army coats to maintain their customary earnings on 
civilian coats. It was agreed that any revision of the rate 
of any section was to be upon the basis of the corresponding 
or most similar operation on civilian clothes. For example, 
the pocket-making section was to maintain the same earnings 
on army coats as on regular coats; but if a high paid or a 
lower paid operator from some other section or factory should 
be transferred to pocket-making on army work, his former 
scale of earnings would not be taken into account in making 
revision. This did not mean, of course, that the individual 
thus transferred could be compelled to suflFer loss of earnings 
in the process. The acceptance of transfer was to be optional 
with the worker. Once he had accepted, however, the special 
agreement required him to accept Ukewise the tentative piece- 
work rate of the operation to which he was assigned. And 
this rate would be effective at once, with no basis for claim 
for hour work while learning. If it became necessary to 
again transfer the worker, his earnings on the new operation 
were not to be less than on the previous one. 

The principle that a worker's earnings must not be reduced 
in consequence of a transfer ordered by the management 
applies not merely to piece-work earnings but to week- work 
wages as well. And it applies likewise to such transfers as 
involve a change from week- work to piece-work or vice versa. 
Under certain conditions this principle of conserving stand- 
ards of earnings works out, in practice, to raise them. Such 
was the effect in the case®^ of a certain under-presser, V, a 
week worker at $15.80 per week. V was transferred to a 
piece-work operation, canvas pressing, at which he earned 



286 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

$18 to $20 per week, and over. After this he was restored 
to his week-work job and his wages reduced to his old scale, 
$15.80 per week. When the case came up on appeal to the 
Board of Arbitration, the chairman held that this was an 
unjustifiable reduction. " He feels that the week-work rate 
fixed for V was based on the then accepted estimate of his 
earning power ; that the continuance of that scale was inter- 
rupted by his change to another position; that the new posi- 
tion enabled him to demonstrate that his earning ability was 
greater than the amount previously fixed; and, in view of the 
fact that the week-work to which he was restored was sub- 
stantiaUy similar to his piece-work operation, there seems no 
valid reason that he should be required to work for a smaller 
wage than what he has demonstrated his ability to earn." 
The chairman accordingly confirmed the judgment of the 
Trade Board, namely, that V should receive the rate deter- 
mined by the piece-work earnings with back pay for such 
period as he had been receiving the lower rate. 

The worker may have other interests than earnings at stake 
in the event of transfer. These are such as relate to the de- 
sirability of the work, privileges associated with it, oppor- 
tunities of advancement afforded by it, and the like. He has 
the right to have these interests conserved along with his 
wages ; in other words, transfers as administrative in distinc- 
tion from disciplinary measures, while they may involve pro- 
motion, may not entail demotion for the worker, without his 
consent. A decision^^ vindicating this principle is found in 
the case of F, a worker in the under-collar section, who was 
transferred to the matching table, as he believed, to his dis- 
advantage. He had been reinstated by the Trade Board, 
and the company appealed the decision. The chairman of 
the Board of Arbitration foimd that the question turned on 
whether the worker had been transferred without adequate 
reason to his own injury. On examination, F testified that 
he had worked in the under-collar department for a year and 
a half, and he felt that this transfer was a demotion. After 
hearing all the testimony, the chairman held that no adequate 



PROTECTING WORKING CONDITIONS 287 

reason had been offered for reversing the decision of the 
Trade Board, and it was, accordingly, sustained. 

In another case,'^ the worker's complaint was that having 
been transferred from the firm's inside shop to the outside 
shop, his customary privilege of receiving pay for holidays 
was withdrawn. The Trade Board recognized the right of 
this worker to carry the conditions and privileges of the in- 
side shop with him when transferred to the outside shop, and 
ruled that he was entitled to pay for holidays. 

The protection in connection with this transfer of the 
worker's wage and other standards which is accomplished 
imder the clause of the agreement quoted on p. 282 
above, was not afforded by the agreements prior to 1916. 
Accordingly, in a decision of the Board of Arbitration** 
given in 1915, the issue arose as a question of interpre- 
tation of the minimum wage clause of the agreement then in 
force. The company in that case held that when a machine 
operator was transferred to a section with which he was un- 
familiar, he should take the lower minimmn wage of a learner 
in that section — i. e,, $5 a week. The union, on the other 
hand, held that any machine operator who had served over 
three months would receive not less than $8 a week wherever 
he might be placed. The chairman was of the opinion that 
the interpretation of the imion was correct and that after 
service of three months the machine operator was entitled to 
the minimum wage of $8 wherever placed, with the exception 
of certain sections especially noted in the clause of the agree- 
ment in question. 

THE INTRODUCTION OF LABOR-SAVING DEVICES 

Thus far we have dealt with the general principles evolved 
by the union for limiting the power of management in the 
matter of initiating changes in work or pay by administrative 
decree. Closely related to this general problem is the special 
problem of regulating the introduction of technical improve- 
ments in the methods of work, whose effect on the workers, 
if left to the uncontrolled action of management, might in- 



288 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

volve serious injury to their standards. The most immedi- 
ate and obvious tendency of such technical improvements is 
to displace workers now employed, who are rendered super- 
fluous by the greater efficiency of the *' labor-saving " de- 
vice. Indeed, this is in most cases not merely an incidental 
result, but a direct object of the innovation. The fear of 
losing his jol) — and possibly his livelihood— through being 
discarded along with his accustomed skill or method of work 
by reason of a new invention, is so deeply rooted in the 
worker's mind that he instinctively resists every change pro- 
posed by the employer to simplify his task. This also ex- 
plains the persistent opposition of workers, both organized 
and unorganized, to the sudden substitution of machine proc- 
esses for hand labor in their trades. It is only as they gain 
the power through organization to control the conditions un- 
der which such improvements are to be introduced and used 
that their attitude toward the latter changes to one of ttJera- 
tion and then of co-operation in the technical progress of the 

industry. 

The Amalgamated Clothing Workers, conscious of its 
power to protect its members in their jobs and their rights 
against infringement by mechanical improvements, today 
takes the position that no unnecessary restrictions shall be 
placed upon such improvements. In a supplement to the 
Hart, Schaffner and Marx Agreement of 1919, the point is 
covered in the following language : " It is not the purpose 
or intention of the Agreement to hinder the introduction of 
improved methods or force the retention of inefficient 
methods. Under the supervision of the Trade Board, the 
company shall not be limited m making experiments and 
may select and hire persons for experimental work accord- 
ing to its judgment." 

There remains the question as to what restrictions are 
necessary and how they are to be applied to the management 
when a technical innovation is contemplated. Speaking 
broadly, the general principle that the interests of the 
workers affected by the change must be safeguarded is ap- 
plicable here as it is in the case of other changes in work or- 



PROTECTING WORKING CONDITIONS 289 

dered by the management and the procedure is similar. The 
earliest adjudication of this question as one of principle of 
which we have record, is found in the opinion by Mr. Wil- 
liams,"* dated April 2, 1915, upholding a decision by Mr. 
Mullenbach in the same case. 

The subject in dispute was the introduction of a labor- 
saving device — perforated patterns — ^in the trimming room. 
The union took the position that it was not opposed to the 
introduction of labor-saving machinery, but did not favor 
the introduction of processes designed to supplant skilled by 
unskilled labor for the purpose of saving wages by lowering 
the established scale. While not opposing the introduction 
of machinery designed to promote a more efficient produc- 
tion, the union realized that it would work to the injury of 
its members and felt that it should be made as little oppres- 
sive as possible, and to this end it claimed that its members 
should be used to operate any machinery or process thus 
introduced. In the case in question it appeared that the 
company sought to use a young man or office boy in the 
operation of the perforated pattern device, and the Trade 
Board had ruled that regular employes of the trimming sec- 
tion should be given that employment. From this ruling 
the company had filed an appeal. 

The company contended that the Trade Board had no 
power under the agreement to limit its range of selection 
of employes for such operations as this; that the operation 
in question was properly a boy's job and it should not be 
required to pay trimmer's wages for the operation; that the 
trimmers were unfriendly to the device, and that its success 
ought not to be entrusted to unfriendly hands, and that no 
trimmer would want to stay permanently at such work, be- 
cause it would be in the nature of a demotion and would 
offer no prospect of an advance of pay or status to the man 
who worked on it. 

In his decision of the main issue. Chairman Williams made 
the following ruling: 

" With respect to the introduction of labor saving devices 
and processes, the chairman concurs in the common agreement 



290 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

that the company has the clear and undisputed right to intro- 
duce them. If claim is made that their introduction affects 
the rights of workers under the agreement, such claims may be 
considered and adjudicated in the same manner as any other 
claim, whether it relates to wages, persons, or conditions of 

work. 

" In view of the probable hardship to persons displaced by 
such labor-saving device or process, the chairman is inclined 
to the position that the persons employed at the work should 
as far as possible and practicable be employed to operate the 
new device or process; and that such employment would be 
more likely to counteract their natural unfriendliness than 
would be the act of displacing them altogether. 

" Applying these considerations to the situation in the trim- 
ming room, the chairman holds that the company should employ 
some of the regular employes of the trimming room to operate 
the perforating device in dispute, and, therefore, concurs in the 
action of the Trade Board." 

The substitution of a mechanical device for the older 
manual process usually involves a simplification of the opera- 
tion. It thereby enables the employer— but for the resist- 
ance of the union— to man the new device with unskilled per- 
sons at a lower wage. These would in a short time be able to 
operate it as efficiently as the skilled hand workers whom 
they had displaced. The eflfect would be to undermine not 
only existing wage standards, but even the power of the 
union m the industry. The resistance of the union, however, 
is not merely obstructive ; it is, in effect, constructive. For it 
makes possible the prompt adoption of an improvement in 
productive technique while at the same time protecting the 
workers in their jobs and their other rights under the agree- 
ment. 

The principle established by the decision of Mr. Williams 
regarding the operation of the perforating device served as 
a precedent the following year, when a similar issue was pre- 
sented for adjustment. In this case'^^ the union complained 
that by the introduction of a new process in the trimming 
room, the work formerly done by regular trimmers had been 
given to boys earning from $7 to $8 a week. The union took 
its stand on the ground of the earlier decision, which held 



PROTECTING WORKING CONDITIONS 291 

that in the event of the introduction of a new mechanism 
or process the work should be done as far as possible by the 
workers in the section affected without loss of earning power. 
The result was an adjustment by mutual agreement, by 
which the trimmers were assured the work which had for- 
merly been theirs. 

The principle that workers have a virtual property right 
in their jobs, which forbids their displacement by other 
workers when the method of work is changed through the 
introduction of a machine or other labor-saving process, has 
only become established in consequence of repeated contests 
successfully waged before the impartial machinery. The 
same is true of the rule that such workers' earnings are to be 
maintained when they pass from the old to the new method 
of working. The following case^^^ is of special historic inter- 
est because it marks a decisive vindication of both of these 
principles and has provided, in its turn, a precedent for 
later decisions. 

Professor Howard, as deputy for the company, presented 
the following: 

" Petition to Board of Arbitration for Ruling Concerning 

Vest Pressing Machines. 

** The company desires to install automatic vest pressing 
machines. These machines effect a large saving of labor and 
expense, principally by making unnecessary the employment of 
skilled pressers to operate them. 

*' I can find nothing in our agreement which forbids the com- 
pany to operate these machines with men adapted both by phy- 
sical strength and standard of wages to the machines. The 
scale of this grade of labor is about $15.00. As soon as pos- 
sible, the price committee should make a piece-work price based 
on work of a similar grade of skill and effort. 

" The pressers by hand are receiving an abnormal piece-price 
which is one of the errors made irrevocable by the first rulings 
of the Board which forced the company to retain all prices then 
existing plus 10 per cent. There would be no possibility of 
retaining the present pressers on this work, because their spe- 
cialized skill is not needed and because they are not adapted to 
the work. The agreement provides that these pressers shall be 
given * employment as much as possible like the new work from 



i ^^ r^ '^ i ^ _.Li^^9 



1^ 



292 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

which they were displaced.' This would probably be coat ofF- 
pressing. 

" The deputy for the company wishes to have a ruling from 
the Board as to the correctness of this interpretation of the 
agreement and to make sure that nothing which might be con- 
strued to be adverse to this interpretation may not have been 
overlooked. Also, if it please the Board, the company would 
welcome a suggestion as to the best practical way to make the 
change." 

The union, in reply, submitted the following brief: 

'^ The company has applied to the Arbitration Board for the 
right of introducing machines to press vests, heretofore pressed 
by hand, also for the right to have these machines operated by 
cheaper help. 

" In the first question, the Union does not advance any objec- 
tion, though do regret that a number of its members must be 
displaced. 

" To the second question the Union beg to submit to the 
Arbitration Board the following: 

" By the Trade Board agreement the right to make prices 
was given to the Trade Board with the following restrictions: 
' Change of prices must correspond to the change of work and 
new prices must be based upon old prices where possible.' 

" Since this has been in effect, many sections were changed 
from hand work to machine, and in no case has the company 
claimed that work done by machine should be done by less expen- 
sive help. Instead, their representative on the Price Commit- 
tee, together with the representative of the Union, have always 
agreed that work transferred from hand to machine should 
enable the machine operator to earn at least as much as the 
hand worker used to earn. Furthermore, it was always agreed 
between these representatives that the people displaced by intro- 
duction of machinery ought to get the first opportunity to oper- 
ate these machines, and this has been the practice in many 
cases. ♦ • • 

" The introduction of the machines for pressing vests does 
not abolish any vest pressing, but merely changes the pressing 
from hand to machine. Consequently, the power of the Board 
is restricted by the clause of the agreement which I repeat: 
* Change of prices must correspond to the change of work and 
new prices must be based upon old prices where possible.' 

" Inasmuch as in this case it is not only possible, but it is 
very evident, that old prices, being yet ia operation, can be used 



PROTECTING WORKING CONDITIONS 293 

to &1, a new price for the pressing of vests by machine, — the 
Board's attention is called to the importance of this case, which 
imperils the life of the Union and the Agreement itself." 

The ruling of the Board of Arbitration in response to the 
company's, petition was a majority decision, signed by Chair- 
man Williams and Mr. W. O. Thompson, for the union. 
Mr. Cresap, for the company, wrote a dissenting opinion. 
The Board decided that: 

" It does not agree with the interpretation of the agreement 
proposed by the deputy of the company, as a whole. 

" It agrees that there is nothing in the agreement which pre- 
vents the introduction of machinery for the purpose of saving 
labor and increasing efficiency even though its introduction may 
reduce and displace the hand workers usually employed in the 
affected section. But in fixing the scale of wages for the opera- 
tion of such machinery, the Board believes the company is 
restrained by the agreement, and by the precedents and prac- 
tices hitherto obtaining, from reducing the earnings of the work- 
ers employed in the section. 

" The company contends that the change of work caused by 
the introduction of this machinery is so great as to constitute 
a new section, and that the substitution proposed would vir- 
tually amount to an abolition of the old section. The Board 
is unable to coincide with this view, but holds instead that, in 
substance, the continuity of the section would be unimpaired, 
the same work would be performed, the same points in quality 
of pressing must be safeguarded, and that the principal differ- 
ence would be in the speed with which the operation is performed. 
Thus believing, the Board holds that the proposed change is* 
a change mainly in the instruments of pressing, and does not 
amount to the creation of a new trade, or such an alteration in 
the conditions of vest pressing as to justify the claim of an 
abolition of section. 

" The decision of the Board is that in the event the company 
introduces the vest pressing machinery, as suggested, the prices 
for operating the same shall be fixed by the price committee, 
upon the same principles and basis as are regularly used by them 
in making all changes in price under the agreement, and which 
are specified in the section hereinbefore quoted." 

Almost five years after this decision had been rendered, 
the issue then disposed of arose again in a somewhat modi- 
fied form and with the emphasis on the claim of the particu- 
lar section to the work under the changed conditions of op- 



294 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

eration. In this case,^** the question was whether the shop 
trimmers or a joker sewer should man a stamping machine 
which would place in the hands of the operator parts of the 
work heretofore done by both of these on shady lots. There 
was also involved the question as to whether the price should 
be based upon the earnings of the trimmers or upon those 
of the j oker sewer. The Trade Board, after hearing the case, 
had found that a machine was being substituted for hand- 
work in the trimming section and " in line with the ruling 
of the Board of Arbitration in the case of the vest pressing 
machines," had ruled that work on the new machine should 
" be assigned to the trimming section." 

In submitting the decision of the Board of Arbitration in 
this case, Chairman Millis ruled as follows: 

"The case here presented is similar to the vest pressing 
machine case. The principle there laid down by * majority 
decision ' has been consistently followed for several years and 
has proved its worth. It should be applied properly in the 
present case. The only material difference between it and the 
vest pressing machine case lies in the fact that in the one the 
interests of two sections are involved while in the other the ques- 
tion was as to whether the company might employ new and 
cheaper help on the machine or must employ the workers there 
engaged in hand pressing, and fix prices which would conserve 
their earnings. In the case before the Board the company 
wishes to man the machine by a joker sewer at a price based 
upon the earnings from that occupation, (some $40 a week). 
The union, on the other hand, wants it manned by a trinvner 
at a price based upon trimmer's earnings, (approaching $50 

per week). 

" The Board is of the opinion that the matter should be dis- 
posed of with some reference to the nature of the machine opera- 
tion, but with chief reference to the relative importance of the 
claims of the two sections, part of whose work is to be done or 
eliminated by the machine. 

" In certain respects a joker sewer would be best fitted im- 
mediately to operate the machine, but its operation would 
involve the heavier responsibilities borne by the trimmers and 
not by the joker sewer. 

" It appears that nearly all of the work to be done or elum- 
nated by the machine has until recently been done by trimmers 
♦ • ♦ It would appear from the estimates given by the company 
and the payroll that about three-fourths of the whole here in- 



PROTECTING WORKING CONDITIONS 295 

volved has been done by trimmers, about one- fourth by joker 
sewer • ♦ • 

" Considering the responsibility connected with the opera- 
tion, the prior claim of the trimmers, and the fact that even 
recently most of the work involved has been done by the trim- 
mers, it is held that the trimmer should be placed upon the 
machine and a price made which, with eflicient operation, will 
yield trimmer's earnings. 

" This decision does not give the company the greatest imme- 
diate gain from the new machine. The chairman is of the opin- 
ion, however, that the company's interests are best served in the 
long run by avoiding the development of opposition to 
machinery and new methods." 
Whenever a technical improvement is proposed or intro- 
duced by the employer, the immediate effect on the worker 
is to put him in a defensive attitude of mind. The worker's 
experience has taught him that he has interests at stake in 
every change affecting his work, and that those interests, 
being in general opposed to the immediate interests of the 
employer, can only be properly defended by himself or his 
organization. Where the anticipated harmful consequences 
of the innovation relate not to present displacement or wage 
reduction but to an eventual depreciation of craft skill or 
deterioration of bargaining power of the worker, such con- 
sequences are both harder to prove and to insure against. 
The resulting tendency on the worker's part is to resist out- 
right the innovation, not trusting to promises as a guarantee 
against possible injury to his interests in future. Under 
these conditions resort to direct action is not out of the ques- 
tion, as happened in the case of the cutters in a certain 
house.^^' These being ordered in an emergency to lay up 
different fabrics were so imbued with the fear of the ulti- 
mate hurtful effect of the change on unemployment of cut- 
ters, that they engaged, first, in a prolonged stoppage and, 
later, in deliberate restriction of output. As a rule, however, 
the discipline of the imion together with the union's concern 
with the permanent interests of its members suffices to safe- 
guard these interests through the regular legal procedure. 
Technical changes in work are usually introduced by the 
management in the interest of greater efficiency in produc- 



•15 



296 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

tion. They may involve, on the other hand, disadvantage 
or loss to workers that offsets their advantage to the em- 
ployer. Both interests being legitimate, it devolves upon 
the impartial chairman to attempt to reconcile them or, fail- 
ing that, to determine which of the two is the more vital in 
the given situation. This issue is illustrated in the following 
case.^®* The repair man in the trimming room had been given 
the additional work of sharpening the knives of the machine 
operators. The union objected on the ground that it took 
work away from union men and gave it to a non-union man. 
The Trade Board sustained the contention of the union. 

The company appealed from the decision on the ground 
that the matter was not so much a question of preference 
to the union as it was a question of the company's right to 
install more efficient methods in the trimming room. The 
imion rejoined that it did not object to improved methods 
but wanted them brought about without injury to the 
workers. In this case it held that the trimmers would be 
seriously harmed by not being pennitted to sharpen their 
own knives, that knife sharpening was an essential part of 
the trimmer's trade, that if he did not know and practice it 
he would not be able to work in other houses than Hart, 
Schaffner and Marx, and so would be heavily handicapped 
in earning his livelihood. 

In deciding this issue, Mr. Williams recorded his opinion 
as follows : 

" The chairman feels strongly that the company should be 
supported in its efforts to improve the methods and has no 
sympathy with the anti-improvement attitude which has charac- 
terized some of the trade unions in the past, yet he believes that 
changes when made should not be at the expense of the worker 
where it is possible to avoid it. In the present case, he does not 
feel that the amount of work or saving involved is important 
enough to make it a test case of the efficiency principle, or 
that the nice balancing of the factors of efficiency of work and 
injury to worker really requires to be subjected to the test of 
adjudication in this doubtful instance • ♦ • 

"The chairman is inclined to give the workers the benefit 
of the doubt in a case where serious crippling of earning power 
is claimed, and where the effect on the company is not important, 
and he therefore is willing to confirm that part of the Trade 



PROTECTING WORKING CONDITIONS 29T 



Board decision which reads as follows: 'The work, accord- 
ingly, is ordered to be restored to its former condition.' 

" But this decision should not be understood to imply that 
the chairman is not in thorough sympathy with the legitimate 
attempts of the company to improve its processes ♦ ♦ • " 

As in the case of substituting a machine for a hand process, 
so in changing one machine for another, the employer is 
bound to conserve the interests of the workers affected. If, 
for example, the new machine is more diflBcult to operate 
than the old, application must be madci to the price committee 
for an adjustment of the piece rate, so that the operator's 
earnings shall be maintained. The fact that the new machine 
is more efficient than the old one and enables the operator 
with the same effort to turn out a greater number of gar- 
ments, does not in itself entitle him to increased compen- 
sation. The gain in efficiency under present conditions 
accrues primarily to the employer, except insofar as the 
bargaining strength of the union may secure a share of the 
gain for the worker through fixing an advantageous piece 
rate for his changed operation. The question of risk, on the 
other hand, like that of effort, enters directly into the cal- 
culation of piece rates and earnings. The greater care de- 
manded and strain on the worker's attention involved in 
operating a dangerous machine must in fairness be offset 
by an increase in rate, if only on the theory that his effort 
is increased or the time per unit of output necessarily 
lengthened. This point gets negative illustration in the case 
of a trimmer^^^ who refused to use a certain cutting miachine 
unless he were paid a higher wage, and who had caused 
another operator to refuse to work it. The chairman of the 
Trade Board, after hearing the facts, held that the machine 
in question involved no more risks than other cutting ma- 
chines, and that the firm was therefore within its rights in 
assigning the trimmer to operate the machine without in- 
crease in pay. 

Even as between the worker's accustomed machine and 
another of exactly the same kind, the substitution of one 
for the other may entail for him a real point of grievance. 
The change may merely upset temporarily and in slight de- 



298 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

gree the worker's habits of adjustment to his machine; but 
to this extent it ajffects his earnings unfavorably, and must 
somehow be compensated. The problem is clearly pre- 
sented in a Trade Board case^*^' growing out of the combin- 
ing of two shops by the firm during a slack period, and the 
proposed part-time employment of both groups of workers 
on one set of machines. The workers transferred from the 
abandoned shop objected on the ground that their accus- 
tomed machines should be transferred with them to the other 
shop. In adjusting the dispute, Chairman Mullenbach gave 
weight to the following considerations: 

" The Trade Board is impressed with an observation that has 
been frequently noted in the shops. One may say it is customary 
for a machine operator to wait while his machine is being re- 
paired by the machinist, though usually extra machines are 
available. Taken in connection with the fact that the operator 
is a piece worker and anxious to employ his time, this refusal 
or objection to using the special machine must count in favor 
of the people's contention. Machines have habits the same as 
the workers have who operate them, and these habits have to be 
learned. 

" To sum up, the union bases its contention for an adequate 
supply of machines, one for each individual worker, on the 
usage that has hitherto prevailed under the agreement ; and on 
the disadvantage of using a strange machine. The union does 
not object to consolidation of the shops but argues that their 
people should not suffer and each should have the guarantee 
that he is not surplus labor but has his recognized place in the 
shop. The company objects to installing the equipment chiefly 
on account of the expense, and argues that the reduction of 
expense in every possible way is necessary in order to meet the 
need of low cost of production. 

" Previous rulings by the Board of Arbitration on merging 
shops, introducing improved processes, etc., have indicated that 
the Board has had in mind that the company was to be aided 
in its effort for more efficient methods, but that such changes 
should not be made at the expense of the workers or at least the 
injury ought to be minimized as much as possible." 

The chairman of the Trade Board, accordingly, ordered 
an estimate to be submitted of the expense involved in hav- 
ing the machines removed from the old shop to the new, as 
an intermediate step to a final decision. 






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298 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

gree the worker's habits of adjustment to his machine; but 
to this extent it affects his earnings unfavorably, and must 
somehow be compensated. The problem is clearly pre- 
sented in a Trade Board case^^^ growing out of the combin- 
ing of two shops by the firm during a slack period, and the 
proposed part-time employment of both groups of workers 
on one set of machines. The workers transferred from the 
abandoned shop objected on the ground that their accus- 
tomed machines should be transferred with them to the other 
shop. In adjusting the dispute. Chairman Mullenbach gave 
weight to the following considerations: 

" The Trade Board is impressed with an observation that has 
been frequently noted in the shops. One may say it is customary 
for a machine operator to wait while his machine is being re- 
paired by the machinist, though usually extra machines are 
available. Taken in connection with the fact that the operator 
is a piece worker and anxious to employ his time, this refusal 
or objection to using the special machine must count in favor 
of the people's contention. Machines have habits the same as 
the workers have who operate them, and these habits have to be 
learned. 

" To sum up, the union bases its contention for an adequate 
supply of machines, one for each individual worker, on the 
usage that has hitherto prevailed under the agreement ; and on 
the disadvantage of using a strange machine. The union does 
not object to consolidation of the shops but argues that their 
people should not suffer and each should have the guarantee 
that he is not surplus labor but has his recognized place in the 
shop. The company objects to installing the equipment chiefly 
on account of the expense, and argues that the reduction of 
expense in every possible way is necessary in order to meet the 
need of low cost of production. 

" Previous rulings by the Board of Arbitration on merging 
shops, introducing improved processes, etc., have indicated that 
the Board has had in mind that the company was to be aided 
in its effort for more efficient methods, but that such changes 
should not be made at the expense of the workers or at least the 
injury ought to be minimized as much as possible." 

The chairman of the Trade Board, accordingly, ordered 
an estimate to be submitted of the expense involved in hav- 
ing the machines removed from the old shop to the new, as 
an intermediate step to a final decision. 



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11 



CHAPTER XIII 

THE ADJUSTMENT OF WAGES 

The problem of wages and the method of payment is one 
that constantly touches every wage-earner, whether employed 
by the piece or by the week. The story of the rise of the 
general wage level and of the great wage arbitrations in the 
Chicago clothing industry since the entry of the union in the 
market has already been told. In the present chapter it is 
proposed to direct attention to the broad principles of pro- 
cedure and of justice governing the establishment of wage 
rates and their adjustment. Insofar as these principles have 
been evolved out of the operation of the agreement and the 
impartial machinery, they form part of the established law 
of the industry. Instead of wages being left to the arbi- 
trary determination of the employer, at least in the interval 
between the making of the collective wage contract and its 
expiration, these laws and principles control the actions of 
the employer in every detail of his wage relations to the 
worker. They impose certain obligations upon the employer 
which spell rights for the worker and the union. From the 
standpoint of growth in union control, the development of 
law and justice in this field of industrial relations is even 
more important than any specific gains in the wage rate 
itself. 



THE MAKING OF PIECE-WORK RATES 

We are not here called upon to raise the ultimate question 
as to the justice of the wage system itself, or even as to what 
constitutes a " fair wage " in the abstract. It is sufficient for 
our present purpose if we succeed in finding through a study 
of the decisions the evolution of certain general principles, 
whose application secures to the workers such a measure of 
practical justice as the existing state of industrial organiza- 



11 



300 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

tion permits. The outstanding feature of the wage system 
as found in the Chicago tailor shops before the 1910 strike, 
was not so much the generally low level of the workers' 
earnings as it was the exploitation of those workers through 
the abuse of the piece-work system of payment. 

Piece work has for many years been the prevailing basis 
of payment in the tailoring operations. While the power of 
fixing and altering piece-work rates remained unregulated 
in the hands of foremen, the workers were exposed to all 
the evils of sub-contracting, speeding, rate-cutting, unfair 
competition, unfair discrimination, and the like. After the 
strike, the firm of Hart, Schaffner and Marx instituted a 
system of written specifications and prices for all operations. 
Although this standardization resulted in an immediate low- 
ering of earnings for many workers because of increased 
requirements as to quality, it represented a long step in the 
direction of a constitutional procedure in the making and 
adjustment of piece-work rates. 

The basis of piece-work rates in the market today are 
schedules of prices and specifications for all the piece-work 
operations in each house. The schedules were arrived at in 
the first place through joint negotiation with the respective 
houses and made part of the agreement for each house. Since 
the work of a section in the industry differs more or less 
widely between shops and from one season to another, the 
specifications and the prices necessarily vary considerably 
and often. To meet this necessity and to insure fair prices to 
piece workers at all times, a joint machinery has grown up 
under the agreement in the form of a piece-rate committee. 
The Hart, Schaffner and Marx agreement provides: 
** Whenever a change of piece rate is contemplated the mat- 
ter shall be referred to a specially appointed rate commit- 
tee who shall fix the rate according to the change of work. 
If the committee disagree the Trade Board shall fix the 
rate." According to the Trade Board chairman, " as a 
matter of practice, the work of rate making is carried on 
almost exclusively by the two members representing the com- 
pany and the people. While some cases are brought before the 



THE ADJUSTMENT OF WAGES 801 

full committee, these cases are exceptional when compared 
to the number settled by the two members." 

In the case of each of the larger houses in the market a 
special union deputy is assigned as price expert, and he acts 
as the people's representative on the rate committee for that 
house. In case of inability to agree, this deputy reports to 
his chief price deputy who, in turn, is the luiion's representa- 
tive on the market rat« committee. " Whenever a question 
of piece-work rate arises, it is taken up in the first instance 
by the two members of the committee and an attempt is 
made to reach an agreement. If an agreement is reached, 
a specification of the work to be performed and the rate to 
be paid is prepared and signed by both representatives with- 
out any further action. If, however, the two parties are 
unable to reach an agreement, the case is taken up with the 
full committee and an agreement reached, or a decision made 
fixing the rate and specification. If this decision is unsat- 
isfactory to either party, the decision may be appealed to 
the Board of Arbitration." 

Changes in specifications are proposed, whenever neces- 
sary, by the company, being a primary concern of manage- 
ment. But since they concern directly the worker engaged 
on the operation and may easily affect his earning power, 
every such change before becoming effective is a matter for 
joint negotiation, agreement and record by both parties. In 
the course of an early arbitration decision^®^ bearing on this 
matter, Chairman Williams ruled as follows: 

** In order that disputes about specifications shall be mini- 
mized, the union shall be provided with a copy of all specifica- 
tions, for the exclusive use of its member of the price commit- 
tee. He shall make proper examination of such specifications, 
and if he objects to any on account of undue age, irregularity 
or other reason, he shall give notice of same, and endeavor at 
once to arrive at an adjustment and agreement. In case no 
such notice is served within a reasonable time, all such specifica- 
tions shall be deemed regular and in force. If there be a serious 
lapse of standard by the workers below the specifications, the 
union shall be notified and shall co-operate with the company 
in restoring the standard of the specification." 



802 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

Changes in rates, on the other hand, are entirely a matter 
of collective adjustment. They cannot be instituted, even 
provisionally, by act of the management. They do not be- 
come eflfective until they have first gone to the Price Com- 
mittee and been adjusted there on the basis of the changed 
conditions. 

When the Trade Board is called upon to fix a rate re- 
garding which there is a disagreement, the chairman of the 
Board endeavors first of all to bring the parties closer to- 
gether on the basis of the agreed facts. If he is successful 
in leading them to agree on a rate, he then merely gives offi- 
cial sanction to it. Otherwise, he may, as an alternative to 
fixing the rate himself on the spot, recommend a temporary 
rate to be applied experimentally and subject to revision. 
Or he may refer it back to the rate committee for further 
investigation or observation, or for elaboration as to detail. 
Thus, in one instance,^®® where the price committee had been 
imable to agree on certain rates, the union requested the 
Trade Board to investigate and decide. The Trade Board 
made a ruling with respect only to basic rates for the opera- 
tions in question, and instructed the price committee to work 
out necessary differentials, thereby narrowing the field of 
possible controversy. 

When the case of a disputed rate goes to the Trade Board, 
it is sometimes necessary for the Chairman to make a per- 
sonal investigation before he can reach a satisfactory decision. 
The investigation, however, extends merely to the facts in the 
case. In deciding upon what is a fair price for a particular 
operation, the impartial chairman is not expected to de- 
termine questions of ultimate justice. He is guided by a 
provision in the agreement which reads: "In fixing the 
rates, the Board is restricted to the following rule : changed 
rates must con-espond to the changed work and new rates 
must be based upon old rates where possible." Where this 
is not possible, existing market rates may become the cri- 
terion of fairness. In other words, usage and antecedent 
collective bargaining or arbitration decisions provide the 
point of departure from which the Trade Board proceeds. 



THE ADJUSTMENT OF WAGES 



808 



It has no power imder the agreement to revise or alter this 

basis. 

The setting of piece rates for new work consequently in- 
volves various questions of fact, and for this reason it is 
necessary for those who are charged with that f imction to be 
thoroughly familiar with the character of the work and the 
conditions under which it is and has been performed in the 
particular shop. It is also necessary that adequate records 
be kept of the various operations and of the rates paid for 
each. 

With the multiplicity of operations and of variations in 
them, it sometimes happens that detailed specifications and 
differential prices are not a matter of written record, but 
merely of custom or informal understanding. Whenever a 
change in the work or the rate is alleged by either side, the 
first question, obviously, is as to the facts. In one such case 
before the Trade Board,^®* the union complained that the 
firm had reduced the brushing rate on Palm Beaches with- 
out the consent of the union and requested the restoration of 
former rates. The firm contended that it had always paid 
the lower rate for Palm Beach coats and that the higher 
had been paid only for half and quarter lined coats. The 
Trade Board found that " the case turns on the facts, which 
the firm feels can be checked up by an analysis of payroll 
and production records." The Board directed that this be 
done, promising to review the case if it were not disposed 
of by such an analysis. 

Regular procedure demands that nothing shall be left 
indeterminate in the definition of piece work operations 
and prices. For only by having them duly written out and 
signed and authorized by both parties can the possibility of 
arbitrary action later be avoided. Disputes over rates hinge 
largely on conflicting interpretations in applying prices and 
specifications. In one case^^® where the union complained 
that the firm had reduced the rate on pressing pockets on 
certain models which the firm claimed were not included in 
the original rate, there was no written schedule to show 
whose claim was correct. The payroll evidence, however, 






Hi 



304 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

indicated that the usage of the previous year justified the 
firm. While the Board, accordingly, denied the request of 
the union, it took occasion to point out that " any correction 
in rates and specifications, however obvious, should be a mat- 
ter of formal record with the firm and the deputy, so that 
questions of this sort need not arise." And on another occa- 
sion^" the Board declared: "When rates are adjusted by 
negotiation there is no good reason why they should not be 
made a matter of record and be signed by the representatives 

of both sides." 

Once the specifications and prices are fixed by agreement 
between the firm and the union, they are legally binding on 
the workers and the foreman in the shop. The power of 
changing them rests, under the agreement, with the original 
parties, or at their instance, with the Trade Board. In the 
words of the agreement: "After the specification and rate 
have been authorized by the Rate Committee, there can be 
no alteration of the terms either by the company or the 
people without permission from the Rate Conunittee." The 
logic of this procedure may be illustrated by a case"* of 
collusion between a section head and the pocket makers on 
A temporary arrangement whereby work was decreased with- 
out a corresponding decrease in the rate and without the 
attention of the foreman and the production manager being 
called to the arrangement. The firm petitioned the Trade 
Board to declare the change invalid and to restore the es- 
tablished rate. The Trade Board, directing the restoration 
of previous specifications and rates, declared: " The workers 
benefited by the arrangement during a period of several 
months, and while the Board must disapprove of changes 
in specifications and rates except by joint action of those 
authorized to make such changes, it does not appear that 
anything more than a temporary arrangement was contem- 
plated or that the pocket makers can contend justly for its 
continuance indefinitely. The section head is reprimanded 
for his action, however innocent his intent * * *." 

A case"' in which the workers themselves decreased their 
work in disregard of the specifications and without a corre- 



THE ADJUSTMENT OF WAGES 



305 




sponding adjustment of the price is that of certain edge 
stitchers, whose rates had been established by agreement. 
For stitching all aroimd the rate was six cents; for breaking 
off it was seven cents. The workers subsequently found the 
latter rate was more favorable, and upon their complaint the 
foreman ordered them to break off on all edge stitching and 
he would pay the rate of seven cents. Instead of this the 
workers went ahead as previously, stitching all around in 
some cases and breaking off in others, according to conveni- 
ence, but they were paid a uniform rate of seven cents, until 
the firm discovered the practice. The Trade Board sup- 
ported the firm in putting a stop to it, holding that " the 
rates of six and seven cents for edge stitching were estab- 
lished in regular order," and that it does not follow that the 
seven-cent rate is to be applied to work for which a six-cent 
rate is established merely because the workers saw fit to do 
the work other than directed and got by with it for a time 
* * *. The Board holds, therefore, that the seven-cent rate 
is to apply when the stitching is broken off, but is not to 
apply to stitching all around. If the rate for stitching all 
around can be shown to be too low; that it was not estab- 
lished regularly or with a full knowledge of the facts in the 
case, or that it is a temporary rate the earning power of 
which has been found to be inadequate, the Board will review 
the situation on that basis." 

The same problem arose in a modified form"* in another 
shop of the same firm. Here the foreman permitted the edge 
stitchers to stitch all around, yet paid the rate for breaking 
off. This was done for a year or more and the firm accepted 
the work. " Now the firm is insisting that the edge stitchers 
break off and accept the established rate. The workers quite 
naturally insist that having been permitted to stitch all 
around for so long a time they should not be asked at this 
time to do more work for the same price * * *. The ignor- 
ing of specifications by foremen or making specifications to 
suit their convenience is occurring with regrettable fre- 
quency. It is a holdover, perhaps, from the days when speci- 
fications and rates were not a matter of agreement and 



306 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

record, but it can have no place under the present arrange- 
ment. In this case if the foreman acted on his own authority 
he robbed the firm of a quality of work to which it was en- 
titled and for which it had paid. If specifications are to 
have any significance they must be observed strictly and fore- 
men who do not observe them are a liability to the firm. The 
Trade Board has no other recourse in this case but to rule 
that the firm must accept the consequences of the poor judg- 
ment exercised by its foreman * * *." 

In the case just dted the time element plays a significant 
part. The fact that a year had passed without any action 
by the firm in repudiation of the arrangement improperly 
entered into by the foreman gave a presumption of right to 
the workers' claim for its continuance. Through the pass- 
age of time a usage had become established and a correspond- 
ing expectation set up in the minds of the workers that the 
firm's apparent acquiescence was consent. Long usage or 
custom, whatever its manner of origin, acquires the force of 
agreement. As such it may supersede earlier agreement and 
can only be set aside, in turn, by subsequent agreement be- 
tween the parties. On this principle, a specification or a rate 
that is not enforced over a considerable period of time lapses 
by disuse and the actual practice becomes the rule or law. 
Thus in one decision"* the Trade Board held that " a dis- 
puted rate becomes obsolete if not used or if the operation 
is changed to avoid the dispute." And in another case"* 
the union requested the Trade Board to fix a rate for top 
seam pressers in a certain house on the ground that addi- 
tional work had been given to them in the form of shrinking 
fronts. The firm claimed that this operation was properly 
a part of their work, though no written specifications for it 
existed. The Trade Board concluded " that whether they 
were supposed to do it or not, the top seam pressers have 
not been shrinking fronts. It may be inferred that they were 
not shrinking fronts when the rates were passed on by the 
leveling commission. In the absence of specifications and on 
the evidence presented, the Trade Board rules that this is 



THE ADJUSTMENT OF WAGES 



307 



additional work and refers the matter to the price committee 
to fix appropriate rates." 

When the Trade Board undertakes the adjustment of dis- 
puted rates, where an operation has been changed, it may 
employ several methods for determining the extent of ad- 
justment called for in the particular situation. It may make 
direct comparative observations of the old operation and the 
new and thus estimate the relative degree of difficulty of 
the one over the other. Or it may proceed by means of time 
studies of the operation in question, these to be conducted by 
the firm and the imion either jointly or independently. In 
either case the "changed rates must correspond to the 
changed work." To illustrate:"^ the union complains that 
the edge and shape presser has been given additional work 
and requests that his piece rate be adjusted with back pay. 
The rate for edge and shape pressing has been 5.74. Re- 
cently the firm has changed from hand to machine collars. 
It is admitted that the shape pressing is now more difficult. 
" The Trade Board has observed the operation in question 
and feels that a rate of 6.50 for edge and shape pressing 
machine-made collars is fair. This rate is to be retroactive 
to the change from hand to machine." 

The method of time study as a measure of the change in 
work is exemplified in a case"® where the firm requested the 
Trade Board to set a differential rate on pressing inseam 
flat at the crotch, which work was added to the regular seam 
pressing. The rate without the added operation was 4.14. 
The results of three-time tests were submitted at the hear- 
ing. The Board directed that further tests be made, as the 
union and the firm had been imable to agree on the tests 
and had made separate reports. The Trade Board set a 
rate of 4.55 for seam pressing to include the added operation, 
the differential representing " about the relationship of the 
new work to the old ". 

THE MAINTENANCE OF EARNINGS 

The principle underljring and governing all these adjust- 
ments of piece rates is the maintenance of hourly earnings 



808 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 



of the workers concerned. The theory is that a worker is 
entitled to his customary earnings as long as he is occupied 
at his own work or at work requiring an equal degree of 
skill or effort. If the necessary degree of skill or effort is 
raised by a change in the required quality of his work or 
its intensity or in the method of performing it, so that he 
can only turn out fewer garments per day than he produced 
before, the piece rate for his operation must be correspond- 
ingly increased so as to yield him the same earnings per 
hour as he previously received. The converse proposition, 
in general, also holds. The principle of maintenance of 
earnings presupposes, in practice, that there is enough work 
in the shop to keep the worker fully occupied at his own 
operation. It becomes inapplicable when work is slack, i.e., 
when he must wait for work. For in that situation his 
earnings, depending as they do on output, diminish in the 
same ratio as his total production declines. 

The worker is entitled to maintain his earnings as against 
changes in his work initiated by and on behalf of manage- 
ment. But he cannot make the same claim as against a loss 
due to irregular employment in slack season — a loss in which 
management also shares and for which it is not wilfully 
responsible. On one occasion"^ the union requested the 
Trade Board to readjust certain rates on the ground that 
there had been a reduction of earnings of the workers in 
question. The Trade Board found that the rates compared 
favorably with market rates, but that the chief trouble was 
lack of work. " In part at least this is a result of general 
market conditions from which many workers have suffered. 
As a general rule, the Trade Board will not revise rates 
passed on by the leveling commission unless it can be shown 
that the operation has been changed." This being not the 
case in the present instance, the Board denied the union's 

request. 

At a time of lack of work in the shop the union may 
object to a change in rates corresponding to a change 
in specifications that would leave a man with still less work 
to do and therefore with earnings still further curtailed. 



THE ADJUSTMENT OF WAGES 



809 



This was the situation in a case^^^ where a firm complained 
to the Trade Board that the union refused to reduce the 
piece rate on collar shape pressing in keeping with the re- 
duced work on the operation. The union did not deny the 
subtraction of work but contended that because of scarcity 
of work a reduction in rate would work an injustice to the 
collar shape presser, whose earnings would be reduced in 
the same proportion. The firm then proposed to give him 
other work to compensate him for the reduction, without 
entailing any loss in earnings for any other worker. To 
this the union agreed and proceeded jointly with the firm 
to readjust the collar shape pressing rate to conform to the 
change in operation. 

A change in specifications may consist in a change in the 
proportion of garments or of materials of certain kinds that 
are handled by a worker in the daily coiu^se of his work. 
If his operation on one model, for) instance, is more difficult 
or time-consuming than on another, and the proportion of 
the former model in the total number of garments is mate- 
rially increased, this will constitute ground for a revision 
of rates upward, so as to maintain earnings. Even where 
the model is not more difficult but its more frequent occur- 
rence brings to light an inferior earning power of the rate 
originally agreed upon for it, this basic rate may itself be 
reconsidered. A certain firm^^^ had a rate of 19.35 for regu- 
lar pockets, with a differential of 9.09 for turned pockets 
including stitching. Only a few turned pockets had been 
made in the past. The firm now proposed to make practi- 
cally all of its pockets turned. The extra stitching was to be 
given to a week worker and the firm petitioned the Trade 
Board to fix a rate that should not include the extra stitch- 
ing. The Trade Board found that there had been no way 
of testing the adequacy of the differential for turned pockets, 
because very few had been made. But " with all pockets 
made turned, it should be possible to determine what work 
is necessary to maintain earnings ♦ * *. Tests made thus 
far indicate that the differential of 9.09, excltmve of extra 
stitching, is not too high if all the pockets are to be made 



810 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 



THE ADJUSTMENT OF WAGES 



311 



turned." And the Board directed this diflferential to remain 
in effect for the reduced operation " subject to later review 
if necessary." 

A change in a worker's operation may amount to a trans- 
fer of work or the substitution of one operation for another. 
This happens when the worker is shifted from one type of 
garment to another, as, for example, from sack coat to over- 
coat ; or vice-versa. In such a case the new work may differ 
so markedly from the old a^ to make it diflScult to base the 
new rates upon the old. If there is no established rate for 
the new work the worker may be temporarily placed on an 
hour work basis, while the piece rate for the new operation 
is being determined by the price committee. The considera- 
tions by which the conmiittee is guided in their determination 
are those (1) of the worker's previous earnings, (2) of his 
performance on hour work or imder time tests, and (8) of 
the prevailing rate paid for similar work in the market. A 
firm complained to the Trade Board* ^ that it had failed to 
reach an agreement with the union covering trimming on 
ready-made overcoats. The Board found that the main dif- 
ficulty lay in reaching an agreement as to the basis for de- 
termining rates in this case. Earlier in the season rates had 
been adjusted to cover trimming on ready-made sack coats. 
The Board ruled that " the rates for overcoats should be 
fixed at a figure that would enable the workers to maintain 
previous earnings " on sack coats, and directed an adjust- 
ment on that basis. 

Any piece rate adjustment by calculation in advance, 
whether by estimating differentials in work or measuring 
them by time study or computing them from output on hour 
work or by comparison with market rates is liable to appreci- 
able error. Whichever method is used in arriving at the new 
rate must be supplemented by actual experiment and obser- 
vation. The new rate must be tested in the light of its actual 
earning power to determine whether it is a " fair rate." For 
this reason when rates are set by the price conmiittee, or 
even by the Trade Board, they are not final. In the language 
of the agreement: " New rates are always provisional^ and 



temporary and are subject to review after sufficient period 
of trial to determine their merit. The Committee seeks to 
make the temporary rate as nearly equitable as possible, both 
for its effect on the people and to save a repetition of the 
negotiation." But this is not always possible, and the mat- 
ter goes to the Trade Board for review. A case in poiut^^' 
is one where the firm petitioned the Trade Board for a re- 
vision of the temporary rate for stitching French facings. 
The union admitted the right of the firm to request a revision 
of a temporary rate, but contended that a comparative time 
test should be made of the operation on the two models : the 
old and the new. The Trade Board directed that such a test 
be made jointly. The results of the tests were unfavorable 
to the workers and inconclusive. The Trade Board held 
that " time tests, covering, necessarily, a limited amount of 
work, should not be the sole criterion of what is a fair rate." 
The rate was then adjusted in the light of former hour earn- 
ings of these workers. 

In another case"* the Trade Board had reduced the rate 
for off-pressing from 4.59 to 4.24 because of a change in 
operation. When the new rate was put into effect by the 
firm, the earnings of the off-pressers fell below their previous 
level, and the union complained to the Board. The union 
contended that the rate established by the Trade Board was 
intended to maintain earnings; that earnings were not main- 
tained, thus demonstrating that the change in operation did 
not reduce the time required in the degree contemplated 
by the Trade Board, and that reconsideration of the rate 
was necessary. The Trade Board directed that hourly 
earnings of off-pressers be computed for comparable periods 
for two successive years, and with these figures of earnings 
as a basis referred the matter of adjusting the rate to the 
Price Committee. 

In order that no injustice shall be done to workers who ac- 
cept a temporary rate that later proves to be too low, the 
Trade Board"' has held that such workers are entitled to 
back pay for the difference between the temporary rate and 
the revised permanent rate. This guarantee also makes for 



I ] 



i W 



312 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

better shop discipline, inasmuch as it reduces the friction at- 
tending the introduction of a new rate. 

When an operation or a method of work is materially- 
changed at the instance of the firm, so as temporarily to 
impair the efficiency of the workers concerned, without neces- 
sarily altering the amount of work required of them, they are 
entitled to be placed on an hour work basis. They remain 
on hour work only long enough to gain the necessary fa- 
miliarity with the changed operation. After that they return 
to piece work, either at their former rate or at a new rate 
agreed upon on the basis of a change in the work. On this 
point the agreement provides that " in the event a piece 
worker is required to change his mode of operation so that it 
causes him to lose time in learning, his case may be brought 
to the Rate Committee for its disposition." In one such in- 
stance^*® a man had refused to continue working at his cus- 
tomary piece rate after the character of his work had been 
changed. The firm discharged him. At the hearing he con- 
tended that the work should have been done on an hour basis 
instead of by the piece. The Trade Board upheld him and 
ordered his reinstatement with pay for time lost. 

In another case^*^ the union complained that the company 
was requiring certain piecers to do their work in a new way, 
and the change was resulting in loss of earnings. The work- 
ers claimed that the new method had seriously hindered their 
speed and asked for a period of hour work in order to get 
acquainted with the new method of handling. The Trade 
Board observed the work and found that " there does not 
seem to be any vital difference in the amount of work, simply 
a rearrangement of the handling. In the opinion of the Trade 
Board the people should be given two weeks of hour work to 
gain facility in the new method." In keeping with this prin- 
ciple, also, is the Board's decision in another case."* The 
Board there ruled that a worker transferred to another shop 
was entitled to hour work for the time needed to acquire ordi- 
nary acquaintance with the work, to the same extent as were 
the workers originally in the shop when the new operation 
was introduced. 



THE ADJUSTMENT OF WAGES 



818 



The principle, stated in general terms, is that workers are 
not to suffer in their earnings when their output is tempo- 
rarily reduced in consequence of an act of the management. 
Thus stated, the principle applies not merely to piece workers 
on hour rates, but also to week workers with standards of 
production, as illustrated in the following case:^^^ The 
firm in this instance had introduced a new method of off- 
pressing and a new quota for the pressers. The section was 
divided into three squads of twelve men who were given 
special training in the new method while being paid on an 
hour basis. But while the first squad was retained under in- 
struction for three weeks, the others were given only one 
week, with a consequent loss in their quota of work and their 
earnings during two weeks following their return to piece 
work. The Trade Board held that since " the innovation was 
at the instance of the company, * * * any loss attending 
the inauguration of the new system should be borne by the 
company, unless it can be shown that the off -pressers are 
responsible for the reduced production. That has not been 
shown in this case and the Trade Board directs that the losses 
for these two weeks for the off-pressers shall be paid." 

The determination of hourly rates for piece workers who 
are temporarily on an hour basis, is provided for in the agree- 
ment as follows: " In case workers are changed from piece 
to hoiu" work, the hour rates for such piece workers shall be 
based on their earnings on piece work." In this way the 
workers' earnings are guaranteed pending their return to 
piece work. The procedure to be followed in computing the 
hourly rate of any piece worker was laid down in a decision^^* 
by Mr. Williams in 1917. He ruled, in substance, that in 
arriving at a basis for hour work, the company should take 
the average of the piece work earnings of the individual con- 
cerned during a period of four full weeks, and base his hour 
work on such average piece work earnings. And, in con- 
clusion, Mr. Williams stated : " The purpose is to base hour 
work on full time piece work, and to avoid as far as possible, 
including slack work periods of piece work on the hour work 
rate." 



814 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 



: i 



It is customary for firms to re-figure hour rates from time 
to time — ^in a few eases on their own initiative, more com- 
monly at the request of the workers — ^in order that these rates 
may reflect changes in the piece-work earnings of the 
workers. For this reason it is all the more important that 
they be based on full-time earnings, since otherwise they 
would be too low. In one case*** the union complained that 
the firm had not figured the hour rate properly in the case of 
several workers and requested the Trade Board to inform 
the firm of the proper way. The Board found that " the 
difficulty in this case arose from slack work and the absence 
of full-time employment over a sufficient period to test 
properly the earning power of the piece rates in question." 
The Trade Board accordingly suggested that an earlier 
period be selected until such time as there may be full time 
work again. 

Not only are hour rates to be computed on the basis of a 
normal flow of work, but, according to a Trade Board de- 
cision,*** four weeks must be selected " when piece rates were 
permanently fixed and when workers had had opportunity 
to become thoroughly acquainted with the work." 

The principle of guaranteed earnings for piece workers on 
hour work is subject to the same qualifications as the hour 
rate itself. They are both based on full-time employment. 
Thus, when work becomes slack, the worker whose hour rate 
has been computed on full-time piece-work earnings, is not 
guaranteed against a reduction in his rate corresponding to 
the reduction in his earning power at such a time. To illus- 
trate : the union on one occasion"* complained that a canvas 
baster employed by the firm was not making the earnings 
guaranteed by the Trade Board, and requested that a proper 
rate be set for the operation. In a previous decision, when 
the worker in question had been transferred from hand to 
machine work, the Trade Board had ruled that his new piece 
rate must be such as to protect his previous earnings, namely, 
$1 per hour. The case turned, therefore, on an interpreta- 
tion of that earlier decision, particularly as to whether it was 
intended to guarantee earnings irrespective of the amount 



THE ADJUSTMENT OF WAGES 315 



of work going through the shop. The chairman ruled that 
" the stipulated earnings of $1 per hour was what the worker 
should earn on full-time work and that it was not intended 
to guarantee those earnings when work was slack. * * * 
Hourly rates are based on full-time employment. It is not 
contended that the rate in question would be inadequate im- 
der conditions of full-time employment * * *." In view of 
these and other facts the Board denied the request of the 
union for a revision of the rate. 

The status of a piece worker on an hourly basis diflFers 
somewhat from that of a week worker. It diflFers in the first 
place in that the piece worker is subject, as illustrated in the 
case just cited, to periodic adjustments of his hour rate in 
accordance with the flow of work in the shop and his own 
piece-rate earning power. It diflFers, further, in being 
merely temporary. "A piece worker*** with minimum guar- 
antee is customarily employed on one kind of work in a 
specific section, with limited duration of the guarantee till 
the worker becomes acquainted with the particular piece 
work operation. The whole arrangement in such a case looks 
forward to permanent transfer to piece work, and the mini- 
mum is maintained only as a temporary arrangement." In 
a piece work market like Chicago the tendency is to put all 
specialized workers on a piece basis as far as practicable. 

The principle of maintenance of earnings applies no less 
to workers transferred from a week work to a piece work 
basis than it does to piece workers changed either tempo- 
rarily or permanently to hour work. To iflustrate: The 
union in one case*** complained that F, employed previously 
by the firm as a week worker, was now on piece work and 
could not earn as much as on week work. Owing to the 
many operations allotted to the worker, the imion felt that 
piece work rates were impracticable. The worker had re- 
ceived $40 at week rates, making vents and yokes. He was 
put on piece work when the shop reopened with the season. 
His earnings for five weeks on piece work averaged only 
$20.57 per week. The Trade Board directed that his earn- 
ings be equalized during the time he had been on piece work. 



I 



III 



i' 



316 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

on the basis of his previous weekly rates of $40, and that 
he be limited to two operations, for a week or more, to de- 
termine whether an adjustment of piece rates was practicable. 
When such an adjustment is not practicable, that is to 
say, when the transfer of the worker from week to piece 
work entails for him a loss of earnings, the union has ground 
for protesting against the transfer itself. This situation is 
apt to arise if the transfer to piece work is made at a time 
when there is lack of work in the shop, because at such a 
time piece work earnings immediately reflect the slack. In 
one such case'^^ the^ union complained that two workers had 
been changed from week work to piece work with loss of 
earnings and requested their return to week work. In its 
decision the Trade Board declared its belief " in a wide appli- 
cation of the piece work system. It is of the opinion, how- 
ever, that a change to it from week work should be made 
when earnings can be maintained. To do otherwise is to 
tend strongly to develop opposition to piece work ♦ ♦ *. 
The Trade Board is of the opinion that the two workers 
should be retained on week work for the limited time neces- 
sary for the volume of work to become such that their for- 
mer earnings can be maintained. It, therefore, grants the 

union's request." 

The general principle that workers shall not suffer loss 
in earnings by reason either of orders or of the fault of man- 
agement, finds application in a variety of cases. For ex- 
ample, it is customary for workers to bushel any of their 
own work that is found defective by the examiner. If, how- 
ever, the defect is not discovered and reported before the 
work has gone through another section, thereby raising a 
possible question as to the responsibility for the defect, the 
worker charged with it may not be required to bushel the 
work without additional compensation. Moreover, if a defect 
in work is due to a previous defective operation on the gar- 
ment that has been passed by the examiner, the burden of 
busheling it may not be imposed on the worker who last 
handled it. The management by virtue of passing the gar- 
ment in the first place has assumed responsibility for its sub- 



THE ADJUSTMENT OF WAGES 



81T 



sequent defective condition. In a certain case^*^ turning 
on this principle, the union requested pay for lost time for 
G, an edge stitcher. The management had required this man 
to bushel coats that on their own admission could not be 
busheled, because the edge basting was bad. After hearing 
the evidence the Trade Board expressed the opinion that 
" work was being required of G that could not be reasonably 
expected of him." It found that the basting was ripped on 
one coat and removed on another. " Under such a con- 
dition it is difficult to see what ground the management had 
for insisting on the busheling. G*s proposal to bushel the 
coats after they had been re-basted would seem to be a fair 
one and as much as could be expected. The management 
seems to have acted inconsiderately." And the Trade Board 
directed that G be paid for one hour loss of time, as the 
refusal to give him work had no justification. 

Loss of time to the worker through no fault of his own 
occasionally results from a breakdown of machinery and a 
failure on the part of the management to repair it promptly. 
Such was the cause of complaint by the union in a case^" 
where some operators lost time on account of the neglect of 
the firm to repair their machines properly. The imion at 
the conclusion of the hearing withdrew its claim for lost 
time, but requested the Trade Board to direct the firm to 
provide adequate machinist service thereafter. The Board, 
accordingly, ruled that " the firm will see to it that machines 
are repaired promptly and that if a machinist is not available 
when needed, duplicate machines will be kept in repair. This 
is as much to the interest of the firm as it is to the interest of 
the workers * * *." 

A clearer case of this sort*** involving fault of the manage- 
ment is that of N, who lost time on account of the condition 
of her machine and on whose behalf the union requested 
compensation. The girl stated that she had been having 
trouble with her machine and that she complained about it 
to the foreman and manager before going on her vacation. 
An examination of the payroll showed that in the week follow- 
ing her return she earned $15.05, or at a rate of 60 cents an 



m 



818 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

hour, her regular hour rate being 89 cents. The Trade Board 
expressed the belief that " the girl has suffered some loss on 
account of the condition of the machine. For this week she 
seems to have lost about 29 cents an hour for 24.85 hours, 
or about $7.20. The Trade Board directs that she be paid 
this amount as an offset for the condition of the machine 
which prevented her from making her usual rate." 

Another instance of loss of time by a piece worker caused 
by a fault of management and therefore compensable, is the 
following:"® The union accused a certain foreman of pulling 
a coat away from P and preventing him from getting on 
with his work. Because of this interruption the man claimed 
he lost two coats of his quota and pay therefor was requested. 
The evidence in the case was rather contradictory and the 
Trade Board decided that a reasonable settlement would be 
to allow P one coat on that day's quota. 

One source of loss of time for the workers is that of wait- 
ing for work in the shop. This is a condition frequently 
beyond the power of management to control, and but rarely 
due to bad faith or gross mismanagement. Where the latter 
is shown to be the case, however, the Trade Board may 
penalize the responsible official. The principle of compen- 
sating the workers for loss of earnings has not found appli- 
cation in these cases because of the risk of abuse involved in 
such a practice. In a case of this type brought by the union 
before the Trade Board."^ compensation was asked for a 
certain section for time lost waiting in the shop. The union's 
claim was based on the provision in the agreement (1916), 
reading as foUows: 

" Detention in Shop.— Workers shall not be detained in the 
shops when there is insufficient work for them. The company, 
or its agent, shall exercise due foresight in calculating the work 
available and as far as practicable shall call only enough work- 
ers into the factory to do the work in sight. And if a greater 
number report for work than there is work for, those in excess 
of the number required shall be promptly notified and permitted 
to leave the shop • * *.** 

In the case under consideration the Trade Board ruled in 
favor of the people's petition. The firm appealed the case 



THE ADJUSTMENT OF WAGES 



819 



and the chairman of the Board of Arbitration affirmed the 
decision of the Trade Board insofar as it ruled about wait- 
ing in the shop, but modified that decision as regards the 
compensation it awarded to the workers: " With respect to 
the penalty the chairman is of the opinion that it should oper- 
ate to discipline the party found guilty of offense, rather 
than as an attempt to compensate for the loss, and the award 
of the Trade Board is altered to correspond with this view. 
A fine of $20 is, therefore, assessed against Superintendent 
S. as a disciplinary penalty, to be paid into a fund which 
shall be held in trust by the company imtil a mutual agree- 
ment shall be arrived at between union and company as to 
the disposition of fine funds." 

The question of paying workers for time spent waiting in 
the shop came up squarely soon afterward,"* when the imion 
petitioned the Trade Board on behalf of certain welt makers 
for pay for time thus lost by them. The Board ruled ad- 
versely on the claim of the people. Appeal was taken to 
the Board of Arbitration and Chairman Williams ruled, in 
part, as follows: 

" He realizes that it is a burden for people to have to wait for 
work, but he is also quite clear that he ought not to invoke a 
remedy rejected by the parties in interest unless the situation 
is very desperate, and unless all other remedies have failed. He 
must consider also whether the evil complained of is not inherent 
in and inseparable from the business and one that cannot be 
completely eradicated so long as the present interdependent 
sectional system continues. The chairman invites the parties 
hereto to make suggestions looking to the improvement of the 
waiting evil. He is disinclined, however, to adopt the remedy 
of paying for waiting until a plan is devised that will eliminate 
the dangers and safeguard against its possible abuses." 

Waiting in the shop is frequently bound up with the ir- 
regular flow of work through the sections. Every interrup- 
tion in this flow and every change in the proportion of work- 
ers in the various sections tends to upset the balance in the 
shop, to produce congestion at some points in the process 
and waiting for work at others. One of the underlying prob- 
lems, therefore, is that of balancing of sections as a condition 



820 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

of regularizing the flow of work through the shop. In a 
memorandum to the Hart, Schaffner and Marx agreement 
of 1919 it was agreed " that the company shall undertake 
experiments in controlling the flow of work for the purpose 
of giving the maximum of work to piece workers and avoid 
waste of time. The union promises to co-operate in the 
balancing of sections upon which regularity of flow of work 

depends." . 

Loss of time to the worker through havmg to wait for 
work in the shop is not compensated, since it is always an 
unintended result of factors that are usually beyond the 
power of management to control or foresee. Where the 
management is demonstrably at fault, however, it does not 
escape the penalty of its failure to keep the work flowing. 
This point has already been illustrated in the case of Superin- 
tendent S, above. In a more recent Trade Board decision,^" 
the principle is set forth as follows: " Unless very definite 
evidence can be furnished to prove gross negligence or bad 
judgment on the part of the officials, no redress can be given 
under the ruling of the Board of Arbitration. If a worker 
has to wait because the foreman or manager has not used 
reasonable care in supplying (him with work) the manager 
may be fined, but there is no other redress." In other words, 
as in the case of seasonal slackness so in other cases of lack 
of work, the piece worker has no guarantee agamst loss of 
earnings from idleness in the shop. On the other hand, such 
idleness is kept at a minimum partly by the imposition of 
fines on officials of the firm where it is shown to be prevent- 
able or due to poor management. 

WAGE STANDARDIZATION IN THE MARKET 

In order that the earnings of workers of a given grade 
in the market may be protected agamst deterioration from 
any cause, it is necessary that standards be set up not only 
within each house but for the market as a whole. For 
workers change their employment from one house to another, 
and any discrepancies in wage rates, whether of piece work- 
ers or week workers, create competitive inequalities among 






THE ADJUSTMENT OF WAGES 821 

employers and dissatisfaction among workers. For this 
reason the Board of Arbitration is given power under the 
agreement to establish wage standards for the market, and 
in accordance with these to equalize the rates of pay of 
corresponding groups of workers. 

In connection with its market wage decision of Decem- 
ber, 1919, the Board of Arbitration"* authorized the ap- 
pointment of a " leveling commission," or Committee on Dis- 
parities in Rates, to be presided over by the Chairman of the 
Trade Board. The task of this Committee was to investigate 
the subject of relative inequalities in rates then existing in 
the market and to recommend such increases for underpaid 
sections as would bring them up to the market rate. In Feb- 
ruary, 1920, the committee made its report and the Board of 
Arbitration approved its recommendations"" as to specific 
rate increases and declared them retroactive to December 
15, 1919, when the general wage increase had gone into 

eflPect. 

The disparities in rates as between different houses in the 
market evidently were very considerable in some instances. 
It is significant of the strength of the union, therefore, that 
all the leveling was upward. The extent of it is suggested 
by a case brought^** before the Board of Arbitration on a 
question of interpretation of the award, late in March, 1920. 
A petition, filed by the representative of the vestmakers, set 
forth that Mr. G., labor manager, had advised a certain con- 
tractor not to give the back pay due on account of the report 
of the Committee on Disparities in Rates. The union asked 
for redress. Mr. G. explained that he understood that the 
award by the leveling committee was not to cost the employ- 
ers more than 20 per cent, of their payroll, and in this case 
it would cost the contractor considerably more than 20 per 
cent, to conform to the award. The Board of Arbitration, 
however, held " that the award must be carried out as imi- 
formly as is practicable and that to make an exception for 
this contractor would be without justification. As regards 
the 20 per cent, limit, this was an estimate, made in Decem- 



822 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

ber on the best information then available, but was not a 
fixed limit." 

The whole trend of wage adjustments through the medium 
of the impartial machinery has been in the direction of secur- 
ing greater uniformity in rates if not in the actual earnings 
of workers. The union has favored such standardization 
partly because it makes possible the elimination of individual 
bargaining together with the consequent dangers to mini- 
mum standards and to organization discipline, and partly 
because it shifts the burden of competition among manu- 
facturers from wage standards and labor conditions gener- 
ally to the field of managerial efficiency. The employers 
have, on the whole, accepted standardization of wages with 
little opposition up to a certain point. They have been con- 
cerned with reducing labor turnover in the height of the 
season, when free competition by employers for workers un- 
restrained by considerations of union scales would have 
brought serious embarrassment to some of them. 

We have already seen by what procedure standardization 
of piece rates was accomplished for the Chicago market 
through the agency of the leveling commission. A like com- 
mission about the same time rendered a similar service for 
week workers in the tailor shops, specifically for tailors, 
bushelmen, bushel girls, and examiners or inspector tailors. 
In this case it was proposed by the union that minimum 
scales should be set up for the various groups of week 
workers, based on a classification of the operations performed 
by them. Such a classification was jointly agreed upon and 
approved by the Board of Arbitration,"^ to whom the com- 
mittee reported. The union's argument on behalf of mini- 
mum scales was that " they tend to stability in the market 
and to prevent constant irritation and dissatisfaction on the 
part of workers who believe that they are being paid less than 
other workers of similar ability in other shops, or in the same 
shop." The employers' chief objection was that " any mini- 
mum rate ought to be matched by a definite standard of 
production in both quality and quantity." In view of this 
objection, the Board of Arbitration was unwilling at the 



THE ADJUSTMENT OF WAGES 



828 



, 

I 






time to take the responsibility of fixing a minimum by de- 
cision. Such basic questions of wage determination are best 
left to negotiation and agreement between the parties, in 
which the function of the impartial chairman is merely that 
of mediator. The Board did, however, take a considerable 
step in the direction of standardization by setting average 
standards for the market. Its decision"^ on this point reads, 
in part, as follows: 

" Standards of Wages — Insofar as the wages paid to workers 
are below those paid to other workers of similar ability in other 
shops, or in the shop, there is bound to be dissatisfaction. A 
discontented worker is not usually a good investment for a firm. 
The figures submitted by various houses show that there is a 
considerable difference which can scarcely be credited entirely 
to the respective efficiency of the different workmen. Standards 
will naturally be expected to consider to some extent the rela- 
tive rates in different markets, in different houses in Chicago, 
between different groups of workers, and finally between dif- 
ferent workers of the same sort. The Board believes that the 
general effort to do justice to these various considerations by 
leveling up the lower-paid houses, which has already been car- 
ried out to a considerable degree in the case of certain piece- 
work sections, may properly be directed to secure greater uni- 
formity in the case of certain at least of these week workers. It 
will not ^ a flat rate, as a minimum for every week worker, but 
it will fix a market average rate. It will permit the firms lati- 
tude in their present practice of making a distinction between 
the more and the less efficient * * 



♦ »» 



In line with the same general policy of standardization 
of wages in the market are the efforts to reduce extreme 
disparities in earnings above the norm. As part of the 
market decision on wages^*® of April, 1921, the Board of 
Arbitration provided for the leveling down of " peaks " 
or unduly high rates of pay in certain sections of the 
industry. The intention was to oflFset exceptional advan- 
tages gained by workers in such sections at a time of labor 
stringency chiefly through individual arrangements with 
their employer either on his or on their initiative. A num- 
ber of employers made application to the Board under 
this ruling for leveling of peaks in their establishments, but 



824 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

in most of these cases their request was denied. The gen- 
eral position of the Board of Arbitration is that where wage 
rates have been duly fixed by agreement or collective bar- 
gaining they are beyond the jurisdiction of the impartial 
machinery to revoke. Thus in one case"* brought to the 
Board of Arbitration under the decision on " peaks/' the 
Chairman ruled " that he will not consider and reduce alleged 
peak rates predating the signing of the agreement in 1919." 
And he advanced as a reason for his refusal that '' except in 
an emergency he does not believe that it is his function by de- 
cision to undo what has been done by agreement of the 
parties in interest." Consistently with this position, the 
Chairman then recommended that the parties negotiate 
among themselves with regard to the peaks in question and 
apply the savings effected at those points to leveling up any 
underpaid sections still remaining. In this way it was made 
easier for the union to agree to a reduction of peaks while 
the demand for such reduction on the employer's part was 
rendered less insistent. 

In another case of this character"^ the request of a manu- 
facturer for the reduction of certain peaks was denied by 
the Board of Arbitration on the ground that though the 
workers concerned had an earning capacity considerably 
above the market norm for these operations, still by compari- 
son with piece rates paid for similar work by other houses 
in the market, the rates in question were only slightly if at all 
excessive. 

If a Chicago manufacturer desired to avail himself of that 
paragraph in the market wage decision of 1921 which bears 
upon the reduction of peaks, the burden of proof rested 
upon him. He had to prove, first, that the worker or section 
in question had increased their piece rate since the market 
agreement of 1919 went into effect; secondly, that the in- 
crease, though brought about through individual bargaining, 
was involuntary on the firm's part ; and thirdly, that the pro- 
tested rate was excessive as compared with prevailing rates 
for such work in the market. These rules were laid down by 
the Board of Arbitration^" in passing on the merits of 



THE ADJUSTMENT OF WAGES 



825 



i 



1 

\ 



1 



■m 



i 



i 



twenty-two different peak rates, whose reduction had been 
requested by one firm. 

The reason for the first of these rules, viz., that " the Board 
will not make reductions where there has been no increase 
under the agreement other than by the general award of 
December, 1919," is to be found in the principle that what 
collective bargaining has given, arbitration may not take 
away. To attempt to do so might discredit the method of 
wage arbitration itself. The second ruling, that the Board 
"will not make reductions where the firm itself gave in- 
creases, without collective bargaining, except where it is 
shown that such increases resulted from pressure exerted by 
workers or shop chairmen," is based on a policy of discourag- 
ing individual bargaining. " The Board does not regard it 
as proper policy to place a premium on anything but collec- 
tive bargaining. Everyone knows that under the agreement 
piece rates are to be fixed by collective bargaining between 
the firm's representative and the union's authorized repre- 
sentative. If they are fixed otherwise it is mismanagement 
of a type that tends strongly to undermine the agreement. 
The Chairman does not regard it as good policy to relieve a 
firm from the results of mismanagement, especially where it 
has been very evident." The third rule, that the Board 
" will not reduce any rate unless it is substantially in excess 
of a fair price," is intended to discourage a multitude of 
claims that might entail a general lowering of piece rates in 
the market. 

All three of the foregoing rules are found illustrated in the 
decision of the Board of Arbitration in reference to the 
twenty-two alleged peak rates. The firm had raised the 
question of prohibitive labor cost in its coat shop and in the 
Board's opinion there was no doubt of its being relatively 
high. Nevertheless, the Board refused relief on this score, 
holding that the high costs were " due very largely to prices 
set and wages paid by the firm before the agreement was 
entered into." The Board then declared that it had " con- 
sistently followed the rule not to reduce wages below the 
level obtaining at the time the agreement was entered into. 



I 



826 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

It will not deviate from that rule in this case (1) because it 
doubts its authority under the agreement to do so in a special 
case, and (2) because there are other costs in which there is 
as much need for readjustment as here." 

The rule outlawing rates resulting from individual bar- 
gaining finds application in the refusal by the Board to re- 
duce the rate for front shaping, which had been increased 
from 9 to 10 cents on request of the worker and without 
knowledge of the deputy. The worker's rate was found to 
be " somewhat high, but the increase was granted by the fore- 
man on request of the worker and without threat of quitting, 
so it is permitted to stand." Where pressure is brought to 
bear by the worker to secure an increase in his rate, the in- 
crease is illegal and may be taken away by the employer or 
by the Board, as in the following instance: " The rate for 
lining making on sack coats is 20 cents. ♦ ♦ ♦ The basic 
rate was increased 8 cents after the deputy refused to take 
up the worker's request for an increase. The worker ♦ ♦ ♦ 
went to the foreman and stated that he would quit unless he 
was given an increase of 8 cents. This the foreman gave. 
♦ ♦ * Both the rate of earnings and price are high. In- 
asmuch as the worker did not accept the disposition of the 
deputy whose business it is to fix piece rates in this house 
but threatened to quit, and inasmuch as the foreman did not 
take the matter of the piece rate up with the deputy as he is 
expected to do, the Board directs that half of the increase 
given shall be taken oflf." 

In illustration of the rule that a rate, to be considered a 
peak, must be markedly excessive, there is the case of the 
brusher in this house. His rate " is not much above the 
average for houses where the work is comparable. It is per- 
mitted to stand." On the other hand, where the discrepancy 
is marked, the leveling process does operate : " The rate for 
seam and pocket pressing ♦ ♦ ♦ was increased from 
6.98 to 7.5, ♦ ♦ ♦ and then to 8.5 cents. As usual, the 
dealings were between foreman and worker. Whether or not 
there was a threat to quit is in dispute. Rate of earnings, 



THE ADJUSTMENT OF WAGES 827 

comparative prices and other details warrant a reduction of 
y^ cent from the present price." 

The policy of standardization of wages, whether in the 
form of piece rates or of weekly scales, carries with it as a 
consequence a tendency toward stability. Once wage stand- 
ards have been fixed for the various operations in the in- 
dustry, and are uniformly applied to all employers and 
workers under the agreement, it becomes immediately to the 
advantage of the employers as a group and of the union to 
enforce these standards against any individual— either em- 
ployer or worker — ^who might be disposed to ignore them. 
Furthermore, because of this common vested interest set 
up in market standards, it becomes more difficult to change 
them, the more so in view of the eflFect of any change upon 
the competitive position of the market as a whole in relation 
to other markets. Today we see standardization of wages 
gradually extending beyond the limits of the local market 
and taking on national scope. Proposed changes in any 
market come, therefore, to involve elaborate negotiations and 
arbitration, and considerable force of facts and argument is 
required to realize them. Thus, standards tend to perpet- 
uate themselves insofar as they become customary and as 
the industry becomes adjusted to them. 

There are, however, other forces making in the opposite 
du-ection, namely, for upsetting existing standards. Chief 
among these is the fluctuation of business and employment 
— whether of the seasonal or cyclical type. At a period of 
brisk trade, when workers are fully employed and the re- 
quirements of the industry for labor exceed the available 
supply, the advantage of having wage standards backed up 
by the union lies primarily on the side of the employers. 
They stand immediately to gain through the restriction of 
competition among employers for workers on a basis of in- 
dividual and sectional wage increases which benefit only cer- 
tain privileged groups of workers as against the rest. The 
union's concern is with the entire membership without dis- 
crimination or favoritism. When the tide turns and depres- 
sion in the trade sets in, it is the workers who derive the 



828 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

primary benefit from the existence of wage scales and stand- 
ards. The maintenance of these standards by a powerful 
organization prevents that undercutting of rates when jobs 
are few and workers are many that used to demoralize at 
every slack period the industry and the people in it, and to 
destroy what there was of organization among them. 

It is at such times, also, that the more far-sighted and 
responsible among the employers remember the beneficial 
workings of standards upheld by the union against its indi- 
vidual members at the peak of the season, and consider the 
value of similar cooperation by the union in the future. These 
employers are, accordingly, disposed to cooperate in their 
turn for the maintenance of imion standards. It is because 
the union, as the permanent organization of all the workers, 
is concerned not merely with the temporary advantage of 
some of its members — such as individual bargaining at the 
height of the season might secure them — but rather with the 
permanent advancement of all, that it pursues a policy of 
stabilization of wage rates. It aims to minimize the seasonal 
ups and downs and the dependence of wages on every flurry 
of trade, and proposes to assure to its members humane and 
progressive standards of income as a fixed charge upon the 
industry with which they are so vitally identified. 

It is a fact that the union through its enforcement of wage 
scales and otherwise has exercised a stabilizing influence 
upon the industry in Chicago at a time when a short-sighted 
opportunism might have dictated the opposite course. This 
fact has been clearly recognized by the Board of Arbitration 
on several occasions in its wage decisions as entitling the 
workers to special consideration at its hands. In his market 
award"* of December 22, 1919, Professor Tufts took occa- 
sion to declare that " both the Firms and the Union members 
have made certain financial sacrifices for the sake of a larger 
end. The labor market is being stabilized ; good will is being 
cidtivated, responsibility is being built up. This cannot be 
overlooked by the Board." And in April, 1921, in a period 
of severe business depression, when the tendency of wages 




M. C. Fisch, 
Recording Secretary 



Louis Schultz, 
Vice President 




Joseph Goldman, 
President 



Charles H. Burr, 
Secretary-Treasurer 




A. N. Fisher, 
President, 1920-1921 



Alex Levin, 
Chairman, Board of Direc- 
tors 



Officers Chicago Joint Board 



THE ADJUSTMENT OF WAGES 



829 



everywhere was downward, Professor Millis^** summed up 
the union's position on this point in the following language : 

" In periods of rising prices and of business activity, the 
Union has exercised its powers of discipline over its members 
and has restrained them from accepting substantial increases in 
wages which they could have received with great ease and which 
indeed were frequently offered by the employers themselves. The 
agreement has therefore operated in such periods so as to stabil- 
ize the market and reduce labor turnover. The Union feels that 
in return for the stability and restraint granted in periods of 
business prosperity, the members of the Union should be assured 
by the agreement the same stability and protection against 
instability when there is a business lull and when the market 
is falling. It would be entirely natural for its members to feel 
that an agreement which made for stabilization in periods of 
business activity when they were asked to make sacrifices, and 
which did not ask the same sacrifices of the manufacturers in 
periods of business depression, was unfair to them. It would 
be unfortunate, indeed, if the workers were made to feel by a 
decision that the Board of Arbitration employed double stand- 
ards.'' 






THE ADJUSTMENT OF WAGES 



829 



M. C. Fisch, 
Recording Secretarv 



T^ouls Scluiltz, 
Vice President 





Josepli Goldman, 
President 



Cliarles H. Burr, 
Secret a r v-T reasu rer 





A. N. Fisher, 
President, 1920-1 921 



Alex Levin, 
Chairnian, Board of Direc- 
tors 



Officers Chicago Joint Board 



everywhere was downward, Professor Millis^** summed up 
the union's position on this point in the following language : 

" In periods of rising prices and of business activity, the 
Union has exercised its powers of discipline over its members 
and has restrained them from accepting substantial increases in 
wages which they could have received with great ease and which 
indeed were frequently offered by the employers themselves. The 
agreement has therefore operated in such periods so as to stabil- 
ize the market and reduce labor turnover. The Union feels that 
in return for the stability and restraint granted in periods of 
business prosperity, the members of the Union should be assured 
by the agreement the same stability and protection against 
instability when there is a business lull and when the market 
is falling. It would be entirely natural for its members to feel 
that an agreement which made for stabilization in periods of 
business activity when they were asked to make sacrifices, and 
which did not ask the same sacrifices of the manufacturers in 
periods of business depression, was unfair to them. It would 
be unfortunate, indeed, if the workers were made to feel by a 
decision that the Board of Arbitration employed double stand- 
ards." 



CHAPTER XIV 

THE PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 

The original Hart, Schaffner and Marx Agreement, 
adopted at the close of the 1910 strike and signed on Jan- 
uary 14, 1911, was a strictly open-shop agreement, in the 
sense that it guaranteed equal treatment to all workers 
employed by the firm, regardless of their membership in the 
union. The second of the four provisions embodied in that 
simple document stipulated that " There shall be no dis- 
crimination of any kind whatsoever against any of the em- 
ployes of Hart, Schaffner and Marx because they are or 
are not members of the United Garment Workers of 
America." The agreement, it must be noted, was entered 
into not officially with the imion but only with the employes 
of Hart, Schaffner and Marx who were, at the time, on 
strike. The imion, as such, was not recognized as a party 
to the arrangement. It was entitled to exist as a voluntary 
association of workers who wished to belong to it, but it had 
no means of approaching the management directly as a 
trade union. Nor was it, on the other hand, to be singled 
out for discrimination or suppression, as is usually the case 
under a so-called open-shop plan. 

But to tolerate the existence of a union when it is weak and 
without power to interfere with the acts and regulations of 
management affecting the workers, is one thing. To permit 
that union to grow strong and to seek to extend its control 
over the workers as a step toward exercising control over the 
management, is quite another. The theory of the open shop 
as a permanent arrangement presupposes a stable balance of 
power as between the employer and the workers, if not a 
safe preponderance of power on the side of the former. It 
breaks down in practice as soon as one or the other party 
attempts to alter the balance. It breaks down when the 
employer feels himself sufficiently powerful to endeavor to 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 381 

rid himself of whatever restraints the activity or the mere 
presence of the organization imposes on his freedom. It 
breaks down, likewise, when the organization gains in power 
relative to the employer and uses this ascendancy to secure 
from him recognition for itself and concessions for its mem- 
bers that he would not voluntarily grant. In practice, there- 
fore, the tendency of an open shop is either to degenerate 
into a non-union shop or to develop into some form of union 
shop with union recognition and participation. 

This statement describes with substantial accuracy what 
happened in the case of the Hart, Schaffner and Marx ex- 
periment with the open shop. The clothing workers had 
carried to a successful conclusion a long and bitter strike. 
They were keenly conscious not only of their old grievances 
— for which the agreement promised redress — ^but also of 
their new power through solidarity and organization. The 
company, on the other hand, was embarking on its new labor 
policy in the hope of dealing with its people in so humane 
and enlightened a manner as to disarm hostility and sus- 
picion, to win their personal loyalty, and thus to cut the 
ground from under the growth of a rival loyalty to the union. 
The union on its part was only nominally an organ of the 
United Garment Workers. The people regarded it as in- 
timately their own, and it embodied for them their hopes and 
aspirations for the future. The leaders, distinguished above 
the rest by their greater faith and vision, lost no opportunity 
to make the union an active reality in peace as it had been 
in war. The many evils of the old autocratic order that con- 
stituted the grievances of the workers before the strike, and 
the other numerous issues between the management and the 
workers that arose as problems of the new order required 
some form of joint conference for their presentation and ad- 
justment. It was'necessary that the workers should be some- 
how represented in their dealings with the management and 
particularly with the newly created arbitration board, by 
those who could speak for them effectively and with author- 
ity. This is where the union foimd its function and its 
opportunity to serve the people. With the inauguration of 



882 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

the Trade Board in May of 1912, this opportunity was 
greatly extended, since it involved the recognition and func- 
tioning of regular deputies and other officials responsible m 
all but name to the organization. 

When the time came for renewing the agreement, early 
in 1913, the people presented among many other demands 
one for the virtual establishment of a union shop. They 
asked for this because they wished to insure themselves 
against the possibility of discrimination on account of umon 
activity, on one hand, and, on the other, to secure a larger 
measure of control for their organization which by that time 
had greatly strengthened its hold upon the adherence of the 
people. The company, however, was not willing to sur- 
render so much control to the people as was implied m the 
demand for a 100 per cent, union shop, fearing the use a 
militant union might make of such suddenly acqmred power. 
Out of this deadlock and the prospect of another clash of 
forces Ihere came the suggestion of a preferential union shop 
as a compromise solution. This was presented to both sides 
by Messrs. Williams, HiUman, and Howard, and adopted 
on March 29, 1918, two days before the expiration of the old 
agreement. The first clause in this working basis of a pref- 
erential agreement provided: 

" That the firm agrees to this principle of preference, namely, 
that they will agree to prefer union men in the hiring of new 
employes, subject to reasonable restrictions, and also to prefer 
union men in dismissal on account of slack work, subject to a 
reasonable preference to older employes, to be arranged by the 
Board of Arbitration, it being understood that aU who have 
worked for the firm six months shall be considered old em- 
ployes." 

The apphcation of the principle of " reasonable prefer- 
ence " was left to the Board of Arbitration to work out in 
detail. Mr. Williams, the chairman, in accepting this new 
responsibility, outlined the point of view from which he 
would approach the problem of protecting the people's mter- 
ests under the preferential arrangement, in these words: 
" The chief interest of the employes centers around the ques- 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 838 

tion of an increased eflSciency of organization, which requires 
a recognition of the need for such a substantial degree of 
preference as will tend to improve that eflSciency." 

The preferential system inaugurated by the agreement of 
1918, and elaborated in subsequent agreements, has resulted 
in the practically complete imionization of the industry, first 
in the factories of Hart, Schaffner and Marx, and later 
throughout the market. The steps by which this result was 
achieved can only be suggested in this place. The agree- 
ment of 1913 definitely recognized the union. It was con- 
cluded between the Joint Board of the Garment Workers on 
one side and the Company on the other. It provided for 
union preference in hiring and discharge. The manner in 
which such preference was to be applied was formulated in 
a series of decisions promulgated by the Board of Arbitra- 
tion in August of 1913, and these became part and parcel of 
the agreement. Thus was laid down, once for all, the funda- 
mental law of the industry on the momentous question of — 



PREFERENCE IN HIRING 



\ 



" When in need of additional workers the company shall give 
the first opportunity of employment to union members if they 
can be obtained ; if the union cannot furnish them the company 
may procure the needed help from any other source. 

"To give effect to this preference with as little friction or 
inconvenience as possible the following provisions are made : 

" The company shall furnish the union a list of the number 
and kind of workers needed, specifying the date on which the 
applicants must report, which list shall be furnished as far in 
advance as possible. 

" The union shall keep on file with the company a list of such 
union applicants for work as it may wish to offer, which list 
shall be corrected from time to time and kept up to date. 

" The company shall keep an employment record which shall 
show the date of engagement of all new workers and the kind 
of work they are employed for and the place of work in which 
they are assigned. 

" If, after advance notice has been given, the union fails to 
have on its list of applicants the number and kind of workers 
needed by the company on the specified date, or if the needed 
applicants fail to report in person on that date, then the com- 



834 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

/ pany may assume that union workers are not available and may 

/ procure help elsewhere. 

I " In case of an emergency, when advance notice cannot be 
J given, the company may communicate oraUy or by telephone 
I with the representatives of the union, and in case the union 
I cannot furnish help, the company may proceed to hire elsewhere. 
I *^ If an applicant has been recently discharged for cause, or 

\ if under the influence of liquor, or obviously incompetent, the 
\ company shall not be required to employ him. Otherwise, the 

\ candidates offered by the union shall have first opportunity of 
^ employment." 

In accordance with this decision,^" the union was pre- 
sented with an opportunity for placing its own members in 
jobs whenever vacancies had to be filled by the company. 
One important consequence of this preferred position of the 
union in the labor market was that it attracted to itself a 
great many new members who saw a very definite material 
advantage for themselves where previously they had only 
seen a sentimental reason for joining the union. A further 
consequence was that with a rapidly expanding membership 
the union soon acquired sufficient control over the labor sup- 
ply in the market to greatly augment its bargaining power 
with the employer. Looking backward over the nine years 
during which the preferential shop has been in operation, 
its total effect has been practically the same as would have 
followed from a closed union shop, except that it has per- 
mitted of greater elasticity in the labor supply in response 
to the changing needs of a growing indusl^. 

How this elasticity is attained without injury to the imion's 
right to preferential treatment of its members out of work, 
is indicated in the following case.^"* The union requested the 
Trade Board to direct the company to discharge two non- 
union cutters, who had been taken on when the cutting force 
was to be increased. The company replied that the labor 
manager had notified the imion deputy that the company 
needed fifty more cutters; that later a written requisition 
was sent to the union office; and that the union had sent only 
one cutter in response to this requisition. The Trade Board 
ruled that technically the objection of the union as to the 



•*. 




PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 385 

filling of the places of cutters before the union had an oppor- 
tunity to supply men to the company was sound. " The 
fact, however, that it was^ practically impossible for the union 
to supply the cutters required must be taken into considera- 
tion. If it should be that the union did supply the cutters 
by the next day or two, the complaint might have some sub- 
stantial support. But it is known that cutters are not avail- 
able and will not be available. Under the circumstances, the 
Trade Board can find no ground for directing the withdrawal 
of these men. When the union is unable to supply the neces- 
sary cutters, the company is free to help itself as it can by 
using non-union men." 

The employer is required to give the union a reasonable 
opportunity to fill his requisition for help before he may 
proceed to engage workers through other sources. The later 
Chicago agreements, including those with Hart, Schaffner 
and Marx as well as with the associations, provide on this 
point in substantially similar language, as follows : 

" It is agreed that the principle of the preferential shop shall 
prevail, to be applied in the following manner: 

" Preference shall be applied in hiring and discharge. When- 
ever the employer needs additional workers, he shall first make 
application to the union, specifying the number and kind of 
workers needed. The union shall be given a reasonable time 
to supply the specified help, and if it is unable, or for any rea- 
son fails to furnish the required people, the employer shall be at 
liberty to secure them in the open market as best he can." 

Exactly what is a " reasonable time " for the purpose in 
question is not defined in the agreement. But usage in 
Hart, Schaffner and Marx allows three days, while for the 
rest of the market forty-eight hours is the standard. In 
one instance*"* the union complained that the company had 
violated the agreement in that it hired people before send- 
ing in a requisition, or before the requisition had expired. 
The company in reply claimed that they had always filled 
vacancies before requisition was issued, or before it expired. 
If the union sent in help these newly hired workers were let 
out. The Trade Board ruled that the agreement was to be 



\ 



/ 




386 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

observed. Workers were not to be hired except after requi- 
sition had been turned into the union, and three days' time 
/ was to be allowed for filling the requirements. " If an 

/ emergency arises, the union should not be insistent on its 

( rights under the; agreement but give sufficient cooperation to 

I avoid handicapping production." 

* The obUgation of the employer under the preferential 
clause of the agreement to give the union reasonable time to 
fill his requisition, holds good, however the vacancy was 
caused. Thus, if a worker is sent by the union in response 
to a requisition and he is rejected after trial or quits of his 
own volition, the union is entitled to another interval of time 
in which to replace him. " In either case the right to hire 
in the open market cannot f ollov immediately without de- 
feating in effect the preferential clause of the agreement." 
On the other hand, it is expected that the union will give 
prompt attention to requisitions in the interest of efficient 
production. Not only in an emergency is this cooperation 
expected, but generally whenever no sacrifice of essential 
interests is involved. A case illustrating both the legal obli- 
gation on the employer's side and the moral responsibility 
on the part of the union is the following:"*^ 

The firm in this case had filed requisition for a canvas 
presser on July 8. The union did not fill the requisition. 
On July 13 a brother of the shop chairman made application 
for the place and the employment manager took him to the 
union for an O. K. The union refused to give an O. K., 
claiming that other men were available. The next day the 
union sent a man with an O. K. He quit at the end of the 
day, whereupon the firm re-opened its requisition. The 
union did not send another man up to 12.80 p. m. of the 
next day and the firm hired the brother of the shop chair- 
man. This worker also quit at the end of the day, the firm 
claiming that he was forced to quit by the union. After 
hearing both sides, the impartial chairman declared that the 
firm was technically bound by the agreement not only to re- 
open its requisition after the first man quit, but again to 
wait forty-eight hours for another applicant to be sent by 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 337 

the union. " At the same time," the chairman held, " the 
union should make every effort to replace those sent on 
requisitions who quit or who do not meet the requirements 
of the position, without standing on technical rights * ♦ *. 
To stand on technical rights is to subject the preferential 
clause of the agreement to undue strain and defeat its main 
purpose." 

In the foregoing case the firm waited beyond what has 
come to be accepted as " reasonable " time, in order to give 
the union ample opportunity to fill the requisition. The 
question as to what constitutes reasonable time, however, 
cannot be settled without regard to drciunstances. It must 
depend within limits on the ability of the employer to fore- 
see a need for help and to wait for having it supplied. Al- 
though for practical purposes an interval of two or three 
working days has been adopted as the customary minimum 
allowance for the union to find the needed workers, if an 
employer should find himself under exceptional pressure 
to fill vacancies or add new workers to his force, he has a 
right to call on the union to supply his need in less than the 
allotted time. In the event of the union's inability to do so, 
he may supplement its efforts on his own account. This 
right is based on the clause in the agreement, already quoted, 
which reads: "In case of an emergency, when advance 
notice cannot be given, the company may communicate orally 
or by telephone with the representatives of the union, and 
in case the union cannot furnish help, the company may 
proceed to hire elsewhere." 

The distinction between ordinary situations and emergen- 
cies in the hiring of help that is implied in the above cited 
provision, was invoked by the Trade Board in a concrete 
case,"* where the question of what is "reasonable time" 
was the issue. In the words of the decision, " * reasonable ' 
time has been held to be forty-eight hours. The Board ap- 
preciates that emergencies may arise in which the firm has 
no advance knowledge of a vacancy. The union is expected 
to cooperate in meeting such an emergency and to use every 
effort to see that requisitions are filled promptly." In return 



338 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 



for such cooperation on the part of the union, the employer 
may be expected not to construe too technically the term 
" reasonable time," when there is no emergency and the union 
needs more than the minimum period for filling a requi- 
sition. 

When an employer is in need of help he must apply for it 
to the employment oflSce of the union, specifying, in accord- 
ance with the agreement " the number and kind of workers 
needed." The union is expected to meet the employer's re- 
quirements as nearly and as promptly as possible. But if 
the union has reason to believe that there is anything im- 
proper in the requisition, it may decline to fill it with respect 
to the disputed specification, pending appeal to the Trade 
Board. In one instance of this sort"^ the firm complained to 
the Trade Board that the union had failed to honor a requisi- 
tion for a female operator and had sent a male worker in- 
stead. The Trade Board ruled that the man was to be hired 
and given a fair trial. The union cannot be expected to be a 
party to sex discrimination, especially when this may lead to 
a lowering of standards. In another case"® where the union 
refused to honor a requisition calling for female operators, 
the Trade Board ruled as follows : " What is and what is 
not a proper requisition depends upon circumstances. If 
women workers are wanted at low wages to fill places hereto- 
fore filled by men at higher wages, the requisition becomes 
improper. If, on the other hand, the workers in the section 
are women and a man would be a disturbing element, a 
requisition for a woman worker with explanation why only a 
woman worker is wanted should be accepted and make no 
difficulty." 

When no interests of the workers or of the union are in- 
fringed, the union must either furnish the help called for by 
the requisition or leave the employer free to find the needed 
workers elsewhere. On one occasion"* the union petitioned 
against the emplo3mient of girls in the jack section of the 
trimming department. The chairman of the Board of Arbi- 
tration, ruling on the principle at issue, said: " The chair- 
man holds that * jack boys ' is a colloquial and familiar ex- 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 889 

pression, not necessarily a sex definition, and does not imply 
a prohibition of female labor. If and when girls are em- 
ployed in the jack section, they shall receive the same rate 
of pay as boys when doing the same work." 

A requisition may be improper because its indirect effect 
is to lower the standard of wages in the shop. A certain firm 
was following the practice of filling vacancies in the tailor 
shop with learners. It had been requisitioning the union 
from time to time for learners at the minimum wage. The 
position of the union in complaining to the Trade Board^*® 
of this practice was that it does not have learners but does 
have experienced workers and that the practice tended to 
reduce the average wages for the section. The Board held 
that a requisition for learners was not a proper requisition. 
The principle involved was, according to the Board, 
" whether the firm may employ new workers at wages that 
will reduce the average for the section. It has been held in 
several previous cases that this may not be done. * * * 
The average for the section must be maintained, otherwise 
the firm might break down standards by employing new 
workers at lower wages." 

In the hiring of new workers the agreement is explicit in 
requiring the employer to give preference to union members. 
As long as the union is able to supply workers not obviously 
disqualified, the employer must hire them and may not obtain 
help otherwise. This principle was upheld in a Trade Board 
decision**^ and confirmed on appeal by the Board of Arbitra- 
tion. The union in that case had complained of the rejection 
by the company of trimmers supplied by the union on requisi- 
tion. The Trade Board ruled that the language of the agree- 
ment required the company to hire such union men as might 
be sent to them on requisition; that the company is not at 
liberty to depart from hiring union men until the supply of 
union men is exhausted, and the company was found in viola- 
tion of the agreement. The company appealed the case, and 
the chairman of the Board of Arbitration stated : " This case 
relates to the practice of preference in the selection of union 
men at time of hiring. The company claims it has unlimited 



840 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

right of selection and rejection. The union claims the com- 
pany must accept any union man sent until by trial he proves 
himself unfit for the job. The chairman finds this question 
defined in the old agreement about as clearly as he f eek able 
to state it * * *." The provision referred to is the final 
paragraph under the head of "Preference in Hiring," 
quoted above, and reading as follows : 

" If an applicant has been recently discharged for cause, or 
if under the influence of liquor, or obviously incompetent, the* 
company shall not be required to employ him. Otherwise the 
candidates offered by the union shall have first opportunity of 
employment." 

In another case"^ the union complained that a pocket 
maker whom it had sent to the company was refused employ- 
ment. The evidence showed that the employment manager 
refused to hire him on the ground that his frequent quitting 
on previous occasions had made him an imdesirable employe. 
The Trade Board ruled that " under the agreement the com- 
pany is required to hire the worker sent by the union unless 
he has been recently discharged, is obviously incompetent, or 
is intoxicated at the time of application. None of these con- 
ditions are found in this case." 

The employer is required to hire workers sent by the union 
on requisition in the order in which they are sent. This in- 
sures, insofar as the union's employment bureau is efficiently 
conducted, that those members who have been longest unem- 
ployed shall be the first to be placed in jobs. In one case*** 
the union complained that G, a seam and pocket presser, had 
not been given employment. G had formerly been employed 
in this factory and had been laid off at his own request for 
three months. Before the expiration of this period, however, 
he had heard of a vacancy in his section and applied to the 
union for the place but was rejected by the firm because his 
lay-off permit had not expired. The Trade Board, on hear- 
ing the evidence, directed that he be employed. He was 
entitled to the position, " because a seam and pocket presser 
had been requisitioned and he, as a union man, had been sent 
in response to the requisition. If the company was not in 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 84.1 

need of a seam and pocket presser the agreement could not 
require the company to give G work until the permit expired. 
But when the company needs a presser and G needs the work 
it would seem that under the general provisions regarding 
preference in hiring G could report for work and would be 
entitled to work. If his work is not satisfactory, the com- 
pany has the usual means for discipline available." 

The only valid grounds for refusing to hire a worker sent 
by the union on requisition of the employer are those laid 
down in Mr. Williams' decision on the subject"^ of August, 
1913. The passage reads as follows: " If an applicant has 
been recently discharged for cause, or if under the influence 
of liquor, or obviously incompetent, the company shall not 
be required to employ him." Relying on this section, the 
union in one case^^* complained to the Trade Board that the 
company had refused to hire B, an off-presser, sent in re- 
sponse to a requisition. The company's objection to hiring 
B was that he had been found undesirable when formerly 
employed there. At that time B had been suspended by the 
company but was ordered reinstated by the Trade Board. 
In view of this fact, the Trade Board found that the com- 
pany had not followed the provisions of the agreement, and 
directed the employment of B with one day's back pay. 

In the foregoing case the worker's record was cleared by 
the action of the Trade Board in reinstating him. Had his 
suspension been confirmed or had he resigned his position in 
order to avoid trial, he would have forfeited his rights as a 
candidate for re-employment later. This, at least, is the con- 
struction placed upon the provision in the agreement by an 
arbitration decision of Professor Millis.^" The occasion for 
that decision was presented by the case of a woman worker 
who applied for a position as finisher in a factory where she 
had been previously employed and had served as shop chair- 
lady. In connection with charges of intimidation growing 
out of a Trade Board case at that time she resigned her 
chairmanship and took a layoff. When she returned in re- 
sponse to a requisition of the firm, she was refused employ- 
ment on the ground that she had been a *' trouble maker ". 



If I iU 



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342 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

The union then charged the firm with violating the agree- 
ment, citing the clause of disquaUfications in support of its 
claim. The Trade Board, on hearing the complaint, ex- 
pressed the opinion that the resignation of the girl on the 
previous occasion indicated that she had not wished to meet 
the prospective charge of intimidating a witness. Rather 
than do so, she had resigned her office and taken a layoff. 
" The opposition of the company to such evasion can be 
easily understood and their refusal to rehire the girl war- 
ranted by the record and circumstances attending her resig- 
nation. Moreover, such refusal to hire works no hardship. 
The demand for finishers always exceeds the supply." When 
the case came up for review by the Board of Arbitration, the 
question as it presented itself was " whether when one resigns 
under fire, he or she may properly be refused re-employment 
when sent on requisition." And the chairman ruled in the 
affirmative: 

" It is obvious that if a worker who has * quit under fire » 
must be accepted by the company it would defeat the purpose 
the Board had in view when it made its earlier ruling (August, 
1913), unless after re-employment suspension can be imposed 
for something done previous to such re-employment. It is 
obvious, also, that if re-employment can be immediately fol- 
lowed by such suspension, nothing is accomplished. The chair- 
man is of the opinion that where a worker * quits under fire,* 
the company may properly refuse to re-employ hun or her, but 
that this refusal should be subject to review by the Trade Board. 
This would protect the worker, and disposes of the matter as it 
would be were the worker discharged and if questioned, the dis- 
charge reviewed by the Trade Board." 
The concluding clauses of the decision just quoted assure 
the candidate for re-employment against unfair discrimina- 
tion, even where the circumstances of his previous quitting 
have clouded his record. The same protection of appeal to 
the Trade Board is extended to the applicant for employ- 
ment with a firm for whom he has not previously worked at 
all. If sent on requisition and refused employment by the 
firm, he has the right of appeal to the impartial machinery on 
the merits of his case. Though he has not been hired and is, 
therefore, technically not an employe of the firm, he may 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 848 

through the union bring complaint against the firm and, if 
justified, secure employment. To illustrate: The union 
charged before the Trade Board^®* that the company had 
refused to hire one A, a cutter, when presented for employ- 
ment in response to a requisition for help. The company 
refused to submit evidence to the Trade Board when the 
issue was brought to trial, on the ground that the cutter was 
not an employe of the company and therefore not entitled 
to the use of the trial boards. The alleged ground on which 
the man had been refused employment was that of incom- 
petence. The Trade Board thereupon ordered the cutter to 
be employed by the company. The company appealed to the 
Board of Arbitration, and the full Board decided that the 
company was in error in refusing to submit its evidence and 
proceed with the trial. The three arbitrators agreed unani- 
mously in this decision and directed that the case be remanded 
to the Trade Board to be tried on its merits under the evi- 
dence. 

Before the union had come to be recognized in the Chicago 
clothing industry, and the preferential union shop had be- 
come an established institution, the employers enjoyed prac- 
tically unlimited freedom in hiring and selecting new help. 
This freedom, especially when exercised by them collectively 
through a central employment bureau controlled by the 
manufacturers' association, gave to the employers a fearful 
power over their workers. It enabled them by means of a 
system of records to control the opportunities for employ- 
ment in the market. It made possible a blacklisting system 
which for a long time eflFectively undermined every eflfort at 
unionization of the workers. Through the adoption of the 
preferential principle in hiring, the control over the supply 
and allocation of labor in the industry has in large part 
passed into the hands of the union. It is the union's employ- 
ment bureau that has first call on the providing of workers 
to the employer and that makes the selection of candidates 
for him. Anti-union discrimination is no longer possible. 
Nor is it any longer permissible for employers to agree 
among themselves to deny employment to any worker on 



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344 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

grounds other than those specifically mentioned in the agree- 
ment. The miion must be a party to any regulation or legis- 
lation bearing upon its members' right to employment. And 
whenever this right is in dispute, the union becomes its de- 
fender on the basis of the agreement. 

A case^*^ in which the above principle finds illuminating 
application is that of certain finishers whom the union sent 
to X and Company, in response to requisition, and who were 
not given emplojmient while non-union girls were hired. 
The company stated in justification of this action that the 
Market Committee of Chicago had made a rule that people 
leaving without consent the employment of one company 
would not be hired by another, in order to preserve intact the 
manufacturing organization of each employer. Because of 
some temporary slackness in the shops of the Y Company, 
some finishers had left there and had been sent by the union 
to X and Company for emplojrment. The company, con- 
forming to the rule laid down by the Market Committee, had 
refused to hire the girls. The union replied by protesting 
this rule by the Market Conmiittee and contended that it 
could have no force or effect in view of the provisions of the 
agreement dealing with the rule of preference in hiring 
workers. The union pointed out that the language of the 
agreement is definite: "Whenever the employer needs 
additional workers, he shall first make application to the 
union, etc." The imion contended that the company in ac- 
cepting the rule of the Market Conunittee and in acting in 
conformity with it had actuaUy abrogated the preference 
provisions of the agreement regarding hiring; and that there- 
fore neither the union nor the trial boards could recognize the 
validity of the rule of the Market Conmiittee, as all these 
parties — ^the union, the company, and the trial boards — were 
bound by the terms of the agreement, and these terms could 
not be modified or set aside by any arrangement with other 
manufacturers to which the union was not a party. While 
agreeing that a stabilizing of the market was desirable and 
necessary for the best interests of the industry, the union 
would not admit the validity of the Market Conunittee rule 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 845 

in the face of the specific provisions of the agreement. The 
Trade Board regarded the position of the union as clearly 
supported by the language of the agreement, and directed 
that the girls sent by the union be given employment. 

A similar issue**® arose between the union and another 
firm in the market, to whom an operator had been sent on 
requisition. According to the union's complaint, the firm 
had inquired of the worker where she had been employed 
previously, and then refused for nearly two and a half days 
to employ her. The firm stated at the hearing that the shops 
manufacturing children's suits had been inconvenienced 
greatly by workers leaving without notice and had agreed 
that no one would be employed who had left another shop 
without notice. This worker had been employed as soon as 
it could be ascertained that she had not quit her last place of 
employment without notice. Chairman Squires of the Trade 
Board in deciding this case in favor of the worker and against 
the Market Committee rule, gave the following carefully 
considered opinion on the point at issue: 

*' The Trade Board appreciates the inconvenience and loss 
resulting from separations without notice and believes that it 
should be possible by closer cooperation between the firm and 
the union to protect the interests of both without resorting to 
an agreement and practice of the nature indicated. The union 
does not stand for quitting without notice, though it seems not 
to have been possible thus far to find a way to insure that a 
worker thus quitting will not be given work elsewhere. At the 
same time the Board does not approve the method used by the 
firm. Carried to its logical conclusion it is the equivalent of a 
leaving certificate plan and might easily develop into something 
even more objectionable. In a previous decision the Trade 
Board stated that if the practice of quitting without notice 
became an abuse it would be a proper subject for conference 
or for action by the Board of Arbitration. 

** In this case the worker had given notice at her last place of 
employment and been released. Irrespective of the propriety of 
the agreement between the firms it should have been a matter 
of minutes rather than days to ascertain the fact that due 
notice had been given. It should have been unnecessary for 
the union to bring complaint to the firm. The Trade Board 
directs that the worker be paid for time lost.'* 



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846 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

When an employer hires a worker sent on requisition, he 
is obliged to pay him the scale of wages established for the 
operation specified in the requisition. If he subsequently 
decides to employ the worker at a lower-paid operation, he 
is not free to reduce the wage correspondingly. In one 
case*'* of complaint by the union that a worker had been 
hired below the scale, it developed that the worker had been 
hired as a tailor on requisition and then put at pulling threads 
and paid accordingly. In his decision the impartial chair- 
man stated : " The Trade Board would condemn in no un- 
certain terms this method of hiring. Wage arrangements 
should be made at the time of hiring and should not be left 
open to invite dispute ♦ ♦ ♦. If the firm requisitioned 
for a tailor and put him to work as a cleaner ♦ * ♦ it is 
the firm's loss and not the tailor's." 

Even in the case of newly hired workers for whose opera- 
tion no established scale exists, the workers' interests in main- 
taining their customary wage standards are protected. In 
such cases the new worker is entitled to receive the wage re- 
ceived by him in his previous place of employment. This 
applied until recently to the cutters and in particular to the 
trimmers before their earnmgs were determined by the 
measure of their production. Several cases have been 
brought before the Trade Board in which employers had 
objected to accepting cutters or trimmers sent by the union 
and paying them the wages paid in their last employment. 
Except in one case, where a trimmer had been last employed 
in an independent house to which he had gone at a consider- 
ably higher wage than he had received in an association house, 
the Trade Board has ruled against the employers on this 
question. When the decision in these cases was appealed to 
the Board of Arbitration for review,"® it was sustained, the 
chairman ruling as follows : " For the present, unless ob- 
viously unfit, or intoxicated or recently discharged for cause, 
and unless it can be shown that irregularity is involved in 
the filling of the requisition, the firm shall accept the trimmer 
sent by the union and place him at work at the wage received 
in the place of last employment, provided this is an associa- 






PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 847 

tion house." Although this rule, at the time it was made, 
was calculated to work to the advantage of the trimmer 
changing his place of employment, it was a fair rule in view 
of the fact, pointed out by the chairman, that at a time of 
stroncr demand for trimmers in the market, the union had 
accepted responsibility for holding its members on the job, 
when it was easily possible for them to secure more money 
elsewhere and when it would have been possible for the work- 
ers to have exacted higher wages than they had received in 
their last place of employment. 

The exception made on behalf of the trimmer last em- 
ployed in an independent house rests on the same principle. 
During the time of active competition among employers for 
workers, the imion's responsibility for restraining its mem- 
bers from leaving their places of employment for higher 
wages elsewhere had not extended to the independent houses, 
with the result that the wages there paid ranged higher than 
in association houses. In these cases another decision of the 
Trade Board," ^ confirmed by the Board of Arbitration in 
connection with the above ruling, applies: 

** The Board recommends that where a trimmer comes from 
an independent house ♦ * * he shall be set at work unless 
obviously unfit. The firm may discharge him after trial or 
bring the case to the Trade Board and ask that a fair wage be 
fixed for him. If he is discharged he shall be paid the wage 
received in his last place of employment. If, on the other 
hand, the matter is brought to the Trade Board, it will take all 
of the facts into consideration and fix a fair wage. When the 
case is brought, however, the firm should signify its willingness 
to continue the worker in his employment at the wage fixed, 
reserving, of course, the right to discharge for cause." 

By vesting in the Trade Board the power of fixing a fair 
wage in those cases where the maintenance of previous wages 
might be inequitable, the decision above quoted provides pro- 
tection for all interests involved. At the same time it re- 
moves the question of wage adjustment in such cases from 
the field of individual bargaining and places it under joint 
control. 



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348 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

PREFERENCE IN LAY-OFFS 

One of the undisputed rights of management is that of 
laying off workers for administrative reasons. This right, 
like others, was exercised by employers without restriction 
imtil the union through the agreement defined the conditions 
and the procedure under which workers might be laid off. 
The necessity for lay-offs arises in part from the seasonal 
nature of the clothing business. The regular rise and fall 
in the demand for clothing and the changes in its character 
from season to season impose upon the manufacturer the 
necessity of alternately expanding and contracting his pro- 
ductive activities. In the early history of the industry prac- 
tically the entire burden of these fluctuations was borne by 
the workers in the form of periodic unemployment and over- 
employment. It was easy for the manufacturer to reduce 
his force or even to close his shop during the dull season, 
thereby throwing his workers out of employment. He needed 
to assume no responsibility for them at such times, since he 
could readily replace them with the resumption of operations 
the following season. 

With the formation by the clothing workers of a perma- 
nent and effective organization, the evils of seasonal unem- 
plojntnent have been gradually alleviated. The up and down 
movement of business from one season to another still con- 
tinues and forces the manufacturer to adjust his production 
policy to it. But he can no longer shift the entire burden 
on to the backs of the workers. Nor does he even wish 
to do so. New forces have come into play that make for 
a stabilization of production throughout the year as good 
business policy. But more particularly it has become good 
labor policy, and not a little of the credit for this change 
belongs to the union. The union has sought ways and 
means of meeting the periodic unemployment of its mem- 
bers due to seasonal slackness in the trade, to general de- 
pression in business and industry, to lack of orders or con- 
traction of business in particular houses, etc. It has devised 
a variety of administrative measures, and imposed them on 
the employers, for spreading work and employment more 






PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 349 

evenly through the season and generally. Among these de- 
vices are the right to secure the reduction of over-crowded 
sections, the right to equal division of work, the right of 
transfer without loss of earnings, permanency of tenure and 
the right to the job, rotation in; temporary lay-offs, etc. But 
from the union's point of view, all these devices are made 
more effective and more valuable in stabilizing employment 
and equalizing work among its members through the appli- 
cation to them of the preferential principle. 

At this point we shall consider only the application of 
preference in cases of lay-off. The lay-off of union members 
is, in a sense, a last resort. It is invoked, even temporarily, 
only when other devices are inapplicable for administrative 
reasons. The Hart, Schaffner and Marx agreement, while 
recognizing the right of the company to initiate a lay-off, 
lays down the following general limitations upon its use: 

" No union member who is a permanent worker shall be 
laid off in the tailor shops except for cause, whether in the 
slack or busy season, except as provided herein. Cause for 
temporary lay-off may be alternation of working periods 
in slack times, reorganization or reduction of sections, lawful 
discipline, and such other causes as may be provided for 
herein or directed by the Trade Board." Under this pro- 
vision, the conditions permitting the employer to resort to 
a lay-off of union workers are defined. But what is more 
important, the burden of proof is placed upon him to show in 
any disputed case that such conditions actually exist to 
justify the action taken. The judgment as to the necessity 
in a given situation for laying off workers rests with the 
Trade Board. 

Preference to union workers in this connection, however, 
signifies more than the right to appeal to the impartial ma- 
chinery against the action or decision of the employer. It 
means a practical distinction between union and non-union 
workers, in favor of the former, in the order in which they 
are to be dismissed. The most usual occasion for putting 
a lay-off into effect is a shortage of work in the section, that 




850 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

is not merely due to a passing irregularity in the flow of 
work through the factory but to a seasonal or more penna- 
nent slackness in trade or unbalance between sections. Such 
a condition of persistent under-employment of the pwple 
is known as over-crowding of sections. The mtereste of the 
management and those of the union as to the continuance 
of this condition are frequently opposed. In general, the 
management prefers to keep the wortang force mtact 
through a slack period, unless the section consists of week 
workera. The union, on the other hand, is concerned about 
securing whatever work there is to be done for its own mem- 
bers and distributing it equally among them. In other 
words, it seeks to realize the benefits of the preference pnn- 
ciple, particularly if there are any non-union workers em- 
ployed in the section. Under the caption of ' Overcrowd- 
tag of Sections," the agreement provides in the foUowing 
terms for the manner in which the principle is to be apphed: 

« Overcrowding of sections is important in this agreement as 
the point at which the provision for preference (in lay-offs) 
becomes operative. It is agreed that when there are too many 
workers in a section to permit of reasonably steady employment, 
a complaint may be lodged by the union, and if proved, the non- 
union members of the section, or as many of *«^"i|:'*y be 
required to give the needed relief, shall be dismissed. For the 
purpose of judging the application of preference the Trade 
Board shall take into consideration the actual employment 
condition in the section, as to whether there are more peoge 
employed at the time of complaint than are neededto do the 
work, and whether they or any of them can be 'P'^T^.^rth. 
substantial injury to the company. If it » . '"""'^ *^** ** 
section can be reduced without substantial injury, the Trade 
Board shaU enforce the principle of preference as contemplated 
in the agreement." 
The practical effect of this provision from the union 
worker's standpoint is to minimize the shock and stress of 
unavoidable unemployment for union members by shiftmg 
the main burden of it to those workers who for any reason 
have failed to join the union. Incidentally, the arrangement 
supplies a solid inducement for many workers to come into 
the organization who might not be amenable to less material 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 351 



arguments. The motives impelling the employer to give 
preference in lay-oflfs to non-union workers, thereby running 
counter to the interests and rights of the union under the 
agreement, are various. Frequently, non-union workers are 
lower paid, as, for example, apprentices and other helpers 
who are not members of the union. Their retention at work 
while union men were laid off would constitute a violation 
of the preference provision, and in case the employer was 
guilty of bad faith, would warrant his discipline at the hands 
of the Trade Board. 

The situation is exemplified in a complaint^^^ brought by 
the union against a firm on the ground of having laid off 
two trimmers, members of the union, while a non-union boy 
in the canvas section of the trimming room remained at 
work. The firm contended that the " preference in lay-off " 
provision applied to the section and not to the shop as a 
whole; that canvas trimming was a distinct section at this 
house. The Trade Board in its opinion overruled the firm. 
It held that " the canvas section is to be regarded as a part 
of the trimming room in applying the principle of * * * 
preference in lajr-off . The non-union worker should have 
been laid off before union trimmers were laid off. The Board 
directs the discharge of the non-union worker. If his place 
is fiUed the firm is first to file requisition with the union." 

Preference to union workers in lay-off does not, of course, 
protect such workers against lay-off in the event of a neces- 
sary reduction of force greater than the number of non- 
union workers employed in the section. In that event, how- 
ever, preference must be shown to those union workers who 
have been longest employed; those most recently taken on 
are the first to become subject to lay-off. This elaboration 
of the principle is embodied in a provision of the agreement 
entitled " Preference of Seniority," which reads as follows : 

" If in order to properly balance sections, a reduction of \ 
force be required greater than can be secured by the laying off I 
of a non-union worker as provided for herein, then there may I 
be laid off those who are members of the union in the order / 
of their seniority who have been in the employ of the company / 




352^ CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 



I 



m\ 



for a period of six months or less, provided that any exception- 
ally efficient worker, or any especially valuable member of the 
union may be exempted from the rule of seniority. Provided, 
also, the company shall give notice to the chief deputy of its 
intention to discharge under this clause, and if he fails to agree 
\ the matter shall be referred to the Trade Board." 

It follows from this provision that the effective initiative 
which belongs to the management in the matter of lay-offs 
affecting non-union workers only, is materially curtailed 
when union workers are to be dismissed or when an excep- 
tion is to be made in favor of some particular individual. 
The union must be consulted in such cases and its consent 
obtained. That failing, the Trade Board has to decide the 
issue. In effect, the laying off of union workers under the 
seniority rule is a matter for joint determination in every 
case. The principle was decisive in a certain case,"* in which 
the company appealed from a decision of the Trade Board 
holding with the union that four men had been improperly 
laid off and ordering their reinstatement with back pay. 

In this case the company, needing to reduce the force to 
a point that required the displacement of union men, had 
proceeded to lay off four union trimmers. The union had 
protested on the ground that a number of non-union men 
were retained, contrary to the provisions of the agreement, 
while the union men were let out. The company contended 
that the retained men were virtually union members, having 
filed their applications for membership, and by reason of that 
fact had acquired the right to be treated as members by 
virtue of the clause on " Union Membership " : " The pro- 
visions for preference made herein require that the door of 
the union be kept open for the reception of non-union 
workers, etc." The company claimed under this clause that 
" such application automatically becomes a membership," 
and that therefore it was justified in assuming they were 
members of the union. 

In deciding the contention in favor of the union, Mr. 
Williams relied upon the explicit language of the " Pref- 
erence of Seniority " clause. He ruled as follows: 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 353 

" The chairman cannot agree to this interpretation (of the 
company), which would enable one side to dispose of a case in 
dispute without any judicial process whatever. The makers 
of the agreement apparently foresaw difficulties of this sort and 
provided a method of dealing with them, for the agreement 
states • • ♦ that ' The company shall give notice to the 
chief deputy of its intention to discharge under this clause, 
and if he fails to agree the matter shall be referred to the Trade 
Board.' • • » xhe chairman cannot accept any * automatic ' 
interpretation of the open union clause, which would prevent a 
disputed case being passed on by the Trade Board before action 
is taken. 

" The four men who were laid off should be reinstated with 
back pay as directed by the Trade Board." 

Among the necessary powers of management — necessary 
in the interest of efficient administration of the factory — ^is 
that of reorganizing sections and, if need be, abolishing them. 
Such changes are usually the result of important innova- 
tions in the character of the product, and sometimes in the 
methods of production. Under such circumstances, the 
problem of reconciling the conflicting interests of eflicient 
production and of the workers' claim to fair treatment has 
to be met. It is recognized in the agreement under the 
heading: " Abolishment of Section. — ^When sections are 
abolished, the company and its agents shall use every effort 
to give the displaced workers employment as much as possi- 
ble like the work from which they were displaced, within a 
reasonable time." This provision, with the relatively free 
hand it leaves to management, does not, however, apply un- 
less the section is entirely discontinued. Where merely a 
reduction of section is involved, the freedom of management 
is further limited by the principle of union preference, as 
has been already shown. The application of this principle 
to an entire shop is not specifically provided by the agree- 
ment, but it seems to be implicit in the general clause re- 
lating to preference in discharge. At any rate,, this has been 
the construction placed upon the clause by the Board of 
Arbitration in the following case."* 

Factory " J " was discontinued by action of the company 
and a dispute arose over the disposition of the workers in 




354 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

that factory. It was understood that shop " X " would 
occupy the premises vacated by Factory "J," and that it 
would be enlarged, and thereby would take care of about 
two-thirds of the Factory " J " workers, leaving the other 
third without their usual place of work. The company pro- 
posed to dispose of these workers according to the principle 
of the " abolishment of sections," under which it would try 
to put the displaced workers in other positions to the best 
of its ability. The union held that under the principle of 
preference the non-union workers should be first laid oflF 
and the union people be given their places. The Trade 
Board having authorized this preferential procedure, the 
company protested against the decision and asked for a 
review by the Board of Arbitration. Against the decision 
it urged that the " Seniority " clause invoked by the Trade 
Board had reference solely to the reduction of sections ; that 
it did not apply to a shop as a whole; that such an appli- 
cation would be wrong and harmful and work injustice to 
the organization (of the shop). 

In deciding that the situation presented in this case prop- 
erly came within the scope of the preferential principle, Mr. 
Williams ruled as follows: 

" The chairman feels that in the present case we are facing 
practically a new situation. We have not before dealt with the 
shutting down of a large factory and the displacement of work- 
ers on a considerable scale. It is possible such a contingency 
was not in mind when the * Preference of Seniority ' clause wai 
adopted, and it may have been more specially designed, as 
stated, for the reduction and balancing of sections. But the 
situation is upon us. If it be contended that the clause is not 
in point, then it is the business of the Board to provide means 
adequate to deal with the situation in the spirit of the agree- 
ment. 

" As indicating the principle to follow we have a clear and 
unmistakable guide in the language of the agreement itself 
* * * It states : * Should it at any time become necessary to 
reduce the force in conformity with the provisions of this agree- 
ments the first ones to be dismissed shsJl be those who are not 
members of the union in good regular standing.' This state- 
ment is made without reservation or qualification, without re- 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 855 

gard to section, shop, or place of employment. It is clearly 
applicable whenever it may * become necessary ' to reduce the 
force. The chairman cannot escape the conviction that there 
is a reduction of force at the present time and that the union is 
within its rights under the agreement in its claim for the dis- 
missal of non-union people. 

" With respect to the method of putting this principle into 
practice, the chairman is not able to conceive any better order 
for laying off people than that provided by the clause ' Prefer- 
ence in Seniority.' Whether or not it was intended for such 
an occasion as the present, it has the advantage of the sanction 
of both parties for something very similar, and if we want to 
resort to so disagreeable a thing as a dismissal, we can prob- 
ably find no way that is fairer or more acceptable." 

The operation of the seniority principle as a method of 
preference as between union workers on a basis of length 
of employment, is not defeated by previous transfers of 
such workers within the establishment. In other words, a 
worker is entitled to preference in lay-off under this prin- 
ciple according to the total length of his employment with 
the firm in question. This point is illustrated"'^ by the case 
of Eva S , who had been laid off, as the union com- 
plained, in disregard of her rights under the " Seniority " 
provision. This girl had been employed by the firm as a label 
sewer for several months after which she was transferred 
twice to other sections. When it became apparent that her 
section was permanently over-manned and had to be reduced, 
the labor manager searched for other work that Miss S. 
might do, but finding none, he informed the deputy of his 
intention to lay the girl oflF. Under these conditions a lay- 
off was within the rights of the firm. But after hearing 
the evidence, the Trade Board found that the firm had not 
applied properly the senority rule in laying off Miss S., 
for two of the three girls retained in the section had been 
employed more recently than she. It appeared that the 
selection had been made on the length of service in the sec- 
tion rather than on the length of time employed by the firm, 
as the rule clearly requires. The Trade Board, therefore, 
directed that Miss S. be reinstated. 

The principle of preference according to seniority in em- 




lit 



HI 



. 1 



356 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

plojonent has its counterpart in preference according to 
seniority in union membership. Though this latter rule is 
not set down anjrwhere in the agreement, it has been deduced 
from the most general principle of imion preference under- 
lying the agreement. Wherever the application of pref- 
erence does not entail definite detriment to the interests of 
efficiency, the presumption of the agreement is in its favor. 
Under the caption, " Avoidance of Injury," the agreement 
defines the limits within which claims for preference are to 
be enforced. The clause reads as follows: 

" Among the things to be considered in the enforcement of 
preference are the needs of maintaining an adequate balance of 
sections, of the requirements of the busy season, of the difficulty 
of hiring substitutes, and the risk of impairing the efficiency of 
the organization. The claims for enforcement of preference 
and for avoidance of injury to the manufacturing organization 
are to be weighed by the Trade Board, and the interests of both 
claims safeguarded as far as possible, the intention being to 
enforce preference so far as it can be done without inflicting 
substantial injury on the company." 

was under this clause, as well as on the basis of a verbal 
understanding between the cutters and the company, that 
the petition of the union was originally brought for the ap- 
plication of preference by seniority in union membership. 
The understanding in this case"® was to the effect that the 
temporary cutters employed that season, who had just be- 
come members of the union, were to be subject to the lay- 
off of men as non-union men. Owing to the novel principle 
involved, the Trade Board referred the matter to the Board 
of Arbitration for interpretation of the " Avoidance of 
Injury " clause. 

In presenting its case before the Board of Arbitration the 
union contended that under the operation of the preference 
clause as then administered, an old and valued member of 
the union might be laid off and a recently acquired member 
who joined only to get a job might be retained. It claimed 
that this practice not only worked a substantial injustice to 
the older member, but it also injured the union by failing 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 857 

to recognize the value of long and faithful membership and 
by giving preference to members of transient connection and 
possibly sordid motives. The company replied that its inter- 
est in the matter was purely that of efficiency, that in the 
lay-off period it wanted to lay off the less efficient worker 
and to retain the better one, and that it wanted as wide a 
range of choice as possible for its selection. In this inter-* 
est it had exercised the choice given it by the agreement 
without regard to their status in the union, and solely with a 
view of retaining the better workers. 

After due consideration of the arguments of both sides. 
Chairman Williams ruled as follows: 

" It appears that the adjustment of conflicting claims of 
preference and efficiency has been left by the agreement in the 
Trade Board, which in this case passes it on to the Board of 
Arbitration. There being no specific direction on the point in 
controversy, we must fall back on the general principles on 
which the agreement is founded. The chairman before accept- 
ing the office has stated these to be in brief, the strengthening 
of the union and the promotion of efficiency. On page 13 of 
the agreement, it speaks of * the intention being to enforce 
preference as far as it can be done without inflicting substantial 
injury on the company.' 

" In balancing the claims of preference and efficiency in the 
present instance, it seems to the chairman that it might be pos- 
sible to grant the recognition of seniority in union membership 
asked for by the union without inflicting substantial injury on 
the company. They ask that those who have been members 
of the union for six months or more shall have preference over 
those who have been members for a shorter period and that in 
case of a lay-off those with less than six months' membership 
shall be the first to be laid off. This means to the chairman 
to propose a reasonable disposition of the question of prefer- 
ence by seniority of union membership and is accepted as such 
by him. It is directed, therefore, that hereafter temporary 
workers in the cutting and trimming departments who have 
been members of the union less than six months shall be laid off 
before those who have been members six months or longer. In 
case of a disagreement about the term of employment, the Trade 
Board shall decide." 

The union is directly concerned whenever any of its mem- 
bers are laid off. As long as they are involuntarily out of 




858 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

work they naturally look to the union for placement. The 
union's burden and responsibility are the greater the more 
of its members are unemployed and the longer they have been 
idle. If the organization is informed in advance of a pro- 
posed lay-off of union workers, it can sometimes make ade- 
quate provision for them without loss of time on their part, 
and in any event can assist them in finding employment else- 
where. It is from considerations of this character that the 
rule has spnmg up requiring the management to give notice 
to the union of such proposed lay-offs and to take counsel 
with union officials with a view to reducing to a minimum the 
unavoidable hardship to the workers concerned. This rule, 
as we have seen, has the sanction of the agreement whenever 
workers are to be dismissed under the " Preference of Senior- 
ity " clause, but it is not explicitly made to apply to tempo- 
rary lay-offs. The extension of the rule to such situations, 
however, has been effected by special order houses. For 
other houses, it has, as yet, only the support of the most ap- 
proved usage and of several decisions of the Impartial Chair- 
man. The following is a case in point."^ 

The union in this case complained that the firm had closed 
its cutting and trinuning room one Saturday and also laid off 
three cutters without taking the matter up with the union. 
The question of laying off three men had not been taken up 
with the shop chairman until just before closing time Friday. 
The right of the firm to close the shop or to lay off workers 
was not questioned by the union. What the union objected 
to was the manner in which the firm had handled the question. 
The Trade Board recognized that there was no agreement 
for ready-made houses as for special order houses covering 
specifically the manner in which such questions were to be 
taken up ; ** nevertheless market practice and certainly good 
management are in favor of advance notice to the union. 
Short weeks on lay-offs present problems to the union as well 
as to management. The problems should be approached in a 
spirit of co-operation and not by arbitrary action on the part 
of either. The lay-off of the three men appears to the Trade 
Board to have been uncalled for and to have been handled 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 359 

arbitrarily. The labor department was not consulted. The 
shop chairman was not notified until just before closing 
time." The Trade Board directed not only that the three 
cutters be returned to the shop but also that they be paid for 
time lost. 

The employer's motive in failing to give advance notice 
of an intended lay-off, where this is the case, usually resolves 
itself into the fear that some or all of the workers might leave 
his employ prematurely and refuse to finish out the work in 
process. But such conduct on their part would not have the 
endorsement of the union. On the contrary, if the employer 
deals openly with the union, observing his responsibilities 
with respect to preference, conference, etc., the union assumes 
on its part a corresponding obligation. It undertakes to 
keep his productive organization intact by refusing to recom- 
mend for employment with other firms workers who quit 
their places without notice. In view of this fact, and of the 
general spirit of the agreement, the union has gained the 
right to be consulted and notified beforehand whenever a 
lay-off is contemplated by the employer. The principle of 
advance notification has, indeed, received its broadest and 
clearest confirmation on this ground of mutual responsibility 
of the parties. To this the decision of the Board of Arbitra- 
tion in the following case^^® convincingly testifies. 

In this case a firm, preparing to discontinue one entire 
shop had dismissed three workers without previous notice 
and others with inadequate notice. When the case came 
before the Board of Arbitration, Chairman Tufts made the 
following constructive ruling: 

" The Board of Arbitration concurs with the Trade Board 
on the point that this case is not definitely covered by the agree- 
ment or by precedents in Hart, Schaffner and Marx. This pre- 
cise contingency of a firm closing up an important part of its 
business, was probably not in the minds of the parties to the 
agreements. The question, therefore, is, may the firm act in 
accordance with previous usage and discharge men without 
notice (as in the case of the three workers first discharged in 
this case), or with very short and indefinite notice, or does the 



860 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 361 



general character of present agreement between firms and union 
justify a different view of responsibility. 

" The question of usage has repeatedly arisen in hearings 
before the Board of Arbitration for Hart, Schaffner and Marx. 
The present chairman has ruled that although usage raises a 
certain expectation and is, therefore, to be given due ^weight, 
it is not to be regarded as final. The question whether a given 
usage is reasonable may be raised. Usually, it has been the 
union which has claimed usage ; in this case it is the employer. 

** The Board of Arbitration holds that the older usage in 
accordance with which neither employer nor worker had any 
responsibility to the other after the end of a day's work is 
not in the interest of the industry. It certainly may bear very 
hard upon the individual worker. In the case in question some 
of the workers were apparently given no notice whatever and 
they were thus placed in a serious situation. It was not treat- 
ing them with proper consideration to discharge them without 
notice. It is possible that the firm might fear that all workers 
would suddenly leave if it should become known that the firm 
was about to close. This ought to have been taken up with 
the union and an arrangement worked out by which the work 
on hand could be finished up. 

" It is stated by the Trade Board, and is not, so far as I know, 
denied by employers, that the union has aided to a large degree 
in stabilizing working conditions and preventing men from leav- 
ing one firm suddenly to go to another for higher wages. There 
has been, therefore, under this agreement, some increased respon- 
sibility on the part of the union. This Board holds that it is 
only proper that there should be an increase of responsibility 
on the part of the employers. It is to be hoped that this par- 
ticular situation will not often arise, but this Board holds that 
for the future it must be clearly recognized that there is a 
mutual obligation." 

A large reduction in the working force of a firm such as is 
entailed in the discontinuance of a shop or a factory, almost 
inevitably involves the laying off of a considerable number of 
workers. Short of a system of insurance against unemploy- 
ment, which does not yet exist in the industry, such a crisis, 
especially at a time of general business depression and in- 
dustrial contraction, cannot be fully met by the union alone. 
The burden is one that the industry — in this case the em- 
ployer — should at least partly share. He does so in a small 
measure by giving the workers and the union advance notice 



of the proposed closing, as contemplated in the Tufts deci- 
sion just quoted. But in a seriously depressed labor market, 
even such notification is of little avail. A larger share of re- 
sponsibility for the workers affected must be assimied by the 
employer. What form this shall take in the absence of an 
insurance fund, was the problem that the Board of Arbitra- 
tion had to meet in the following case.^^* 

The firm in this case, having no need for continuing one of 
its two vest shops, decided to merge it with the other. This 
would have involved the simultaneous displacement of a large 
number of workers then employed by the firm. The em- 
ployer's right of closing a shop as an administrative measure 
cannot be denied under ordinary conditions. It serves the 
ends of eflSciency, which is one of the major purposes of the 
agreement. But efficiency is not the only purpose. Of equal 
if not greater importance is the maintenance of the rights of 
the workers as human beings and in a sense partners in the 
industry. In the language of the preamble: " On the part 
of the workers it is the intention and expectation that they 
pass from the status of wage servants, with no claim on the 
employer save his economic need, to that of self-respecting 
parties to an agreement which they have had an equal part 
with him in making; that this status gives them an assurance 
of fair and just treatment, etc." The conditions in this case 
were extraordinary, and the union challenged the firm's right 
to close the vest shop suddenly without making some provi- 
sion for the workers employed there. In meeting the issue 
thus presented, Professor Tufts made the following notable 
ruling: 



(i 



In general, this Board is always in favor of economy in 
production, provided this can be secured without injury to 
other more important interests. In the present case the Board 
holds that we ought to be considerate of the conditions caused 
by this very large reduction in work. Although we have as yet 
no adequate means of caring for the burdens due to seasonal and 
exceptional maladjustments, nevertheless, we ought not to ag- 
gravate any of the necessary evils but ought rather to minimize 
them. Assuming then, that the desirable thing is for many 
of the vest makers to find work elsewhere, as rapidly as possible. 



862 



CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

and very likely that for the younger workers thU ^"^"^ 
te found in many cases in other occupations the Board hoW» 
that the company can well afford a slight additional expense for 
lie sike oSLg the feeling of resentment so far as possible 
Iwch fluowJwhenVsons have entered employment supposing 

rf to be permanent and later find th«»-l-» °"* ^7^'^ j ,^t, 
"The Board directs therefore that until October 1 (5 weeks 
later), the merging of the shops be suspended. 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 368 



PREFERENCE IN TRANSFERS AND PROMOTIONS 

When in 1918 the principle of union preference was first 
introduced in the relations of the clothing workers ¥tith the 
firm of Hart, Schaffner and Marx, it was made to apply only 
to the hiring of workers and to their dismissal. In other 
dealings of the company with its employes, such as transfers 
and promotions, the management was not in any way bound 
to show preference to union members. But such preference 
was of considerable importance to the union in its quest for 
control. Without it non-union workers who had done 
nothing toward building up the organization or toward 
achieving the working conditions and standards shared by 
them with the rest, might continue to enjoy privileges over 
union workers whenever a transfer or promotion was in ques- 
tion. Furthermore, the absence of any provision for union 
preference at these points tended to defeat the object of the 
preference provision in connection with lay-oflFs. The reason 
for such a result is to be found in the ease with which non- 
union workers could, at a time of reduction of force, be trans- 
ferred instead of being dismissed, or could even be retained 
in their places while union workers in the section were being 
transferred to less desirable positions elsewhere. 

The status of the early law on this subject of preference 
and the way in which in a critical borderline issue it might be 
stretched to cover even certain situations involving transfers, 
is well shown in the case^*® decided by the Trade Board, and 
later, on appeal, by the Board of Arbitration, some time 
during 1915. In the reorganization of a certain section it 
became necessary to reduce the number of workers, and the 
company removed the superfluous ones to other places. Of 
those retained, one was a non-union girl, and the union 
claimed that under the principle of preference she should 
have been the one to be removed and a imion girl retained. 
The company maintained that this was a regular case of 
transfer and under the agreement it was not required to show 
" preference " in transfer but only in cases of hiring and dis- 
charge. The union replied that this was not a case of trans- 



864 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

fer but a case of lay-off, and as such came within the scope 
of the preferential principle. The union pointed out that the 
force in the department was permanently reduced, and that 
while it was true that the workers had been offered other em- 
ployment, in most cases it was of so disadvantageous a char- 
acter that the workers could not make wages and in some 
instances the workers had quit work and were without em- 
ployment, so that in effect the removal amounted to a dis- 
missal. 

Basing his opinion on the facts as stated. Chairman Wil- 
liams, of the Board of Arbitration, held " that elements are 
present in this case that differentiate it from ordinary cases 
of transfer; that, in principle, it partakes more of the nature 
of a lay-off than of a transfer, and in view of this preponder- 
ance of the element of lay-off in the transaction the applica- 
tion of preference may properly be asked for and granted. 
The chairman does not find that the Trade Board has erred 
in the matter, and is unable, therefore, to grant the appeal 
of the company." 

The union, however, was determined to extend the applica- 
tion of the preferential principle to all cases of transfer and 
promotion, regardless of the presence or importance in the 
situation of any element of lay-off or of hiring. Accord- 
ingly, in the later agreements with the firm of Hart, Schaff- 
ner and Marx, the union secured the inclusion of the follow- 
ing express provision bearing on the subject of 

P&EFEKENCE IN TeANSFEBS 

* If it becomes necessary to transfer workers from one shop 
to another, the non-union workers shall be the first to be trans- 
ferred, unless at request of the foreman, union workers are will- 
ing to go. 

** Or if it becomes necessary in the judgment of the company 
to transfer a worker from a lower to a higher paid section or 
operation, it is agreed that union workers shall have preference 
in such transfers. Provided, that nothing herein shall be con- 
strued to be in conflict with the provisions relating to transfer 
for discipline, and, provided that they are qualified to perform 
the work required and that their departure from their section 
does not work to the disadvantage of that section." 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 365 

In the course of the six years that have elapsed since these 
provisions were first written into the agreement, the propor- 
tion of non-union to union workers has been effectively re- 
duced. This process of unionization has gone so far that it 
has deprived the preferential principle of some of its early 
significance. Nevertheless, cases of discrimination continue 
to occur in connection with transfers no less than with lay- 
offs and hiring of workers. These are cases in which union 
members receive at the hands of employers less favorable 
treatment in comparison with non-members than under the 
preference clause of the agreement they are entitled to. As 
a rule, the discrimination is incidental and not deliberate, but 
this does not diminish the need for vigilence and the assertion 
of its rights by the union. A case in point is the following, of 
recent occurrence :^®^ 

The union in this case protested against the transfer of 
L. C, an inspector-tailor, from Factory " A " to " B " and 
later to " R," and asked for his re-transfer to " A," and that 
a non-union man in " A " be laid off. In support of this 
request the union cited the general preference provisions of 
the agreement relating to the lay-off of non-union men dur- 
ing the slack season. In any event, the union maintained, 
the rule regarding transfers provides that non-union workers 
are to be transferred unless union workers are willing to go. 
The company merely contended that C had suffered no loss 
by his transfer to " B " or " R." At the time there were four 
inspector-tailors in " A " who were non-union. The Trade 
Board held that in view of this fact, " these men by the pro- 
vision of the agreement are subject to lay-off or transfer 
before union men. C could not be transferred while non- 
union men were retained during the slack period. Nor could 
he be transferred against his will while non-union inspectors 
were available for transfer." The Trade Board accordingly 
directed that C be retransferred to " A." If this transfer 
should overcrowd the section, non-union men were to be 
laid off in sufficient number to relieve the overcrowded con- 
dition. 

Since transfer is preferable to lay-off, union workers are 



i 



U 

m 



366 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

entitled under the agreement to be transf err«i f^om an over- 
crowded section if there are non-union workers that can be 
SiToff to make room for them. An illustration ,s found m 
the case of Anna B..>" who was laid ofE because of slack 
work in Factory " B." where she had been employed^ The 
Lon had requested that she be transferred to Factoj R. 
where a non-union girl was employed at smular work. Ihe 
^mpaJy objected on the ground that the agreement restru^ts 
SSr^se of ovei^rowded sections withm ea^ shop 

anTSween separate factories The -^P^*-* ^.^^ 
brought to the Trade Board. The evidence showed that to 
nSi-union girl had been hired without a requisition. In view 
"fXe Trade Board directed that the non^-^^] 
be dismissed and the place given to Anna B. The Board 
further directed that Amia be paid for time lost between her 
dismissal from " B " and her date of e^Pl"?^^"* i^,. ^„„„. 
Had there been no irregularity in the hirmg of the non- 
union girl, it is stiU probable that the company woud have 
W obhged to dis Jss her to make room for the union girl 
fSm anther factory. On the other hand the chum of a 
unTn worker to preference does not extend to the point of 
rpSIm«?of a non-union worker in another section. Nor 
disSdve even the right of the union worker to be trans- 
Feared to a section other than his own ^he'%t'^"\^''^^* 
vacancy, unless he has the necessary J^ahfications to M rt. 
These issues were tested and decided by the Trade Board 
in two instances, which are here summarized: 

The first inst^ce is that of J and K. who had been mark- 
ing patches in Factory " L " when laid off. The umon asked 
ZtC li placed as'floor boys, as there were two non-umon 
floor eirls in " R," one in " J " and one at L. The com- 
pZr objeSed that they could not be required under the 
J^L^eit to displace a non-miion worker who was not em. 
XyS? in the sa^e section. The Trade Board m this case 
fZtZ position of the company to be sound^ It cannot 
£d in the agreement any provision as to preference which 
would compel the company to dismiss non-umon people em- 
pSy«lTone section to make room for umon people em- 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 867 

ployed in another section. If J and K had been employed 
as floor boys in " L " the union's claim for their employment 
as floor boys elsewhere where non-union floor boys are em- 
ployed would be sound, and the company could be required 
to dismiss the non-union help in favor of the union workers. 
That is not the case in the present instance. These two 
workers were not employed as floor boys and they cannot get 
benefit of the preference provision under the agreement." 

The other instance is that of N, who had been marking 
bolts when laid oflF. The company needed bottom sewers and 
the union suggested that N, who had had a little machine ex- 
perience, be given this work. The company refused on the 
ground that this was a girls' section and N was not a regular 
bottom sewer, and they were not compelled to put him in the 
section. The Trade Board could find no authority in the 
agreement to place N in the section of bottom sewers so long 
as he was not a bottom sewer. " If he were a bottom sewer, 
the union might have a claim, even though the section were a 
section of girls." 

Transfers that are in the nature of promotions involve, as 
a rule, the shifting of a worker from one section or operation 
to another where higher earnings are possible. The case just 
cited makes sufficiently clear the proposition that preference 
to imion workers in transfers of this character presupposes 
not only the existence of a vacancy and the employer's in- 
tention of filling it but also the union worker's ability to do 
the work of the other section. This may or may not imply 
actual previous experience at the particular operation to be 
performed. Experience with a related operation may in 
some cases be adequate preparation. The minute division of 
labor prevailing in the larger factories carries with it a high 
degree of specialization on the part of most workers that pre- 
cludes expertness in more than one or two operations. At 
the same time, there are enough elements of similarity be- 
tween a number of different operations to make transfer be- 
tween them frequently practicable. The question of fact as 
to whether or not a worker is " qualified " is to be deter- 
mined by the employer. It is to be determined experiment- 



a 



r 



368 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

aUv however, that is, with the presumption in favor of the 
worker recon^mended for promotion by the "mon *"f °f ^■ 
wise eUeible under the agreement. An adverse decision by 
SemXer in advance ff a trial for the candidate may ^ 
chaUenced by the union and appealed to the Trade Hoard, 
^e any other dispute m^der the preference provision of the 
l^eement. It wa. on this point that the decision of the 
Trade Board in the following case turned: 

In this case the union asked for promotion of Ethel W^ 
a stve lining sewer, to a position as cuff tacker in Factory 
•< L " The union claimed at the hearing that this girl had 
spoken to the labor manager about *e. promotion, but in- 
stead of obtaining the position the ^"P*""*^"'*^"* Jf J^^^^ 
it to a non-union girl. The labor manager testified that the 
Superintendent h«5 given the other girl the place b-^"- ^^ 
had worked one time a. a cuff tacker and -^s W°^ej^^^ 

perienced. The miion cited the P^^V^ *« ^^ gtl 
under the head of " Preference m Transfers (see P- 864 
above). They contended that this section required the com- 
naTto give the position to the union girl. The company 
Sndefthat they were not required to give her the posi- 
ti^, as one of the provisions is that the worker seeking pro- 
motion must be " Qualified to perform t^e.^jk required^ 
and that in this case the girl was not qualified, as she had 
never worked at cuff tacking. The union rephed that 
wSer the girl were qualified or not could not be determmed 
until she had^en tried on the job; that if no one were to be 
promoted unless he was able to do the work no promotions 
Luld take place under the present sectionized ^y/t^^^me 
duction, and the company's interpretation of the ckuse 
woSmake the whok section ineffective, whereas it was 
clearly the intention of the section to make promotion pos- 
mlLd that miion workers should be given the preference. 
The Trade Board, after considering the evidence and argu- 
ments in the case, upheld the miion's position. The chairman 
^ed that the section of the agreement m question was in- 
Sttded to give the union workers preference in promotions 
tSt t they were to be given first chance at the job, and if 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 869 

they were found to be qualified, that is. were able to turn out 
the work efficiently, they would be entitled to hold the posi- 
tion. If the Trade Board were to accept the company's in- 
terpretation, it would have to regard the provision: ' Quali- 
fied to perform the work,' as a joker, which would rob the 
entire section of any significance. If promotions could take 
place only as workers were ' qualified ' in the sense which the 
company urges, no one could be promoted, except on option 
of the management, whereas this section was intended to lay 
down a rule determining preference in promotions for union 
workers." And in accordance with this opinion, the Trade 
Board directed that the girl be given opportunity to do the 
cuff tacking. 

When preference in promotion is accorded to a union 
worker over a non-union worker, as in the foregoing case, 
the employer is not limited to any particular individual but 
is. in general, free to choose which union worker to promote 
to the position. In the case just presented, the company de- 
murred against that part of the decision requiring it to give 
the appointment to Ethel W., as against some other union 
worker in its employ. In meeting this question as to whether 
the company has liberty to select the girl who is to be pro- 
moted, the chairman stated he did not find anji;hing in the 
agreement to limit the company in this respect. " The in- 
dividual to be promoted must be a union member qualified 
to do the work and whose promotion will not work to the dis- 
advantage of the section from which he is promoted. The 
union holds that the first girl to make application for the pro- 
motion is to receive it, but I find nothing in the section in 
question to warrant this construction." 

The employer's liberty of selection, however, even as be- 
tween union workers, is not unlimited. It may not be used 
in such a way as to entail unfair discrimination against in- 
dividuals. There may even be said to be some recognized 
grounds of preference as between one union worker and an- 
other. Among such grounds of precedence are, as in the 
matter of lay-offs, those of seniority in employment and in 
union membership. The following Trade Board case illus- 






^■4. 



r 




870 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

trates not only this limitation on the ^P^J^^^'Jl^^,^. 

sdection for promotion but a^^e jpph^^n o^e «P^, 

mental principle for determmmg the relative qua 

of the union's candidate as agamst t^e fim s^ 

The union in this case"' complamed against the empioy 
Ane uiuuii 1" •'■"° r^^oocincT while an old man, 

mmt of . m«. ne» on 'T^'^''-^^^ Z^. The union 

man, ana was quinine^ r selection of a man on 

The company contended that m tne seiecuuu 

thought fit for the ^orK, ana company claimed, 

""^'""t'Lr wHn adiulttiig tS isVthe chair- 
S^onhf tI^I: B'^rdVthat " tl^ peoi^ had a griev- 
ance that ought to be d«*«™""«^,XSvrSpelr wo^^ 
men; that unless the new man was <^«a^Jy ^J^P^J^J^" ^ ht 
i. c 4.1.0 io hpt as an old employe of many years, ougut 

Z^,:^^i^^^ J Jv»c«n». there might 
presser wiicn made. The re- 

^ntd^drt he^beTu^tiiuT^ t Z new man on this 

''°Fr"eauently, when transfers from one section to another 
or fS^e shop to another are under consideration he 
or from °°5^" ^ ^ ^^^j, workers reqmres that the 

prmcple ^^ P^TX^J" ^^ »ione. Interests of workers 
"T>f Se't^^la^- a^volved that can only be prop- 
It i^r^fby^U the union join in the arrangement 
fl S^Se where a question of precedence arises or as to 
For exwaple, wner 4 importance even to the 

*^Z« Sly s^^on of discriLiation be avoided. 
S^SidjS of^he union in fixing the terms under 
wWch'ShOers are to be carried out serves, on one 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 871 

hand, to protect the interests of its members concerned. On 
the other hand, it insures the management against subsequent 
claims and complaints by workers who in the absence of such 
union sanction might feel themselves disadvantaged by the 
change. The impartial boards have recognized the need for 
such joint control over critical cases of transfer in several 
important decisions. An instance is the following :^®* 

The firm of Hart, SchafFner and Marx proposed to dis- 
continue one of its factories, in which several hundred work- 
ers had been employed, and at the same time was planning 
an extension of one of its other shops by adding about one 
hundred workers. The union asked the Board of Arbitra- 
tion that these additional people be transferred from existing 
sections, and that the whole matter of transfers be placed 
under the supervision of a committee. The chairman of the 
Board thereupon directed that the whole matter of transfers 
caused by the closing of the factory and the extension of the 
shop in question be subject to revision and approval of a 
committee consisting of Messrs. Marimpietri, Levy and Mul- 
lenbach, and that any differences arising in the course of the 
adjustment should be decided by Mr. MuUenbach. 

The need for proceeding by joint agreement and consent 
has been recognized even more clearly in the matter of trans- 
ferring workers from one section to another. This need rests 
upon the fact that except in times of ample employment in 
the market, the union has an interest in controUing and re- 
stricting such transfers in the interest of its unemployed 
members, who would be available for filling vacancies. The 
issue was presented to the Trade Board in a case^®^ involving 
the question as to whether the company, without arrange- 
ment with the union, might transfer a worker from one sec- 
tion in one shop to another section in a second shop, or 
whether the company must make requisition upon the union. 
The Trade Board ruled that though " the agreement is not 
specific on the point," a transfer between sections was " con- 
trary to the agreement and to previous practice." 

From this decision the company appealed. Before the 
Board of Arbitration it maintained that it had the right under 



r 



■ii 



■n 




870 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

trates not only this limitation on the empWery^om of 

of the union's candid.!, .s .giunsl the linn .. 

The union in this "-"" °7^^„^et^ oTJ!^ 
T* °' "oTii'irw^t™!^* e to 2' work. The union 
*e„S^°2.To.d"rp.oye, S., «- f^'-'-PXu 

1 Zm fZ the work and further, that the man select^ 

TXZ q^fieltn S.. who. the company cl^ed. 

w nnt L the work. In adjudicating this issue, the chair- 

~:^'onhfTr:i: Board held^hat « the people had a grjev- 

ance that ought to be d«*«"^"^ °,'?*i; ^^^U work- 
men; that unless the new man was ^^^"{y * '"P^J^J^ ^t 
i. c 4.1.0I a Hpt as an old employe of many years, oui$"»' 

tot.ve wl^e!:^P^i^iy for'aJvancement there might 

te^e mSiTasThad been d^Pl'Tiff/ f^^Ll" 
p;e^« when the machines were introduced." Accordmgly. 
presser ™i ^^ ^^^j^ Tj,g jg. 

an exammation of the worK 01 ^ ^ 

suit appeared to show that S. '«^'« **'*"; ° ^ ^j there- 
^*h thP new man as a presser, and the Irade uoara lucre- 
TA -^"^dTiLt he be^ubstituted for the new man on this 

''Fluently, when transfers from one section to another 
or^X^e shop to another are under consideration he 
or from one sp workers requires that the 

pnnciple "^ PT^St nroc^ alone. Interests of workers 
•^f r tSlS- a^volved that can only be prop- 
!SJ in^ervT^^ving the union join in the arrangement 
??r SSe where a question of precedence arises or as to 
For ex^ple, wner H importance even to the 

*^Z«Ttly su^^on of discrimination be avoided. 
SeTii^itton of^he union in fixing the terms under 
wHch"^ s^h Cnsfers are to be carried out serves, on one 



PRINCIPLE OF UNIOX PREFERENCE 871 

handy to protect the interests of its members concerned. On 
the other hand, it insures the management against subsequent 
claims and complaints by workers who in the absence of such 
union sanction might feel themselves disadvantaged by the 
change. The impartial boards have recognized the need for 
such joint control over critical cases of transfer in several 
important decisions. An instance is the following :^®' 

The firm of Hart, Schaffner and Marx proposed to dis- 
continue one of its factories, in which several hundred work- 
ers had been employed, and at the same time was planning 
an extension of one of its other shops by adding about one 
hundred workers. The union asked the Board of Arbitra- 
tion that these additional people be transferred from existing 
sections, and that the whole matter of transfers be placed 
under the supervision of a committee. The chairman of the 
Board thereupon directed that the whole matter of transfers 
caused by the closing of the factory and the extension of the 
shop in question be subject to revision and approval of a 
committee consisting of Messrs. Marimpietri, Levj'^ and Mul- 
lenbach, and that any differences arising in the course of the 
adjustment should be decided by Mr. Mullenbach. 

The need for proceeding by joint agreement and consent 
has been recognized even more clearly in the matter of trans- 
ferring workers from one section to another. This need rests 
upon the fact that except in times of ample employment in 
the market, the union has an interest in controlling and re- 
stricting such transfers in the interest of its unemployed 
members, who would be available for filling vacancies. The 
issue was presented to the Trade Board in a case^®^ involving 
the question as to whether the company, without arrange- 
ment with the union, might transfer a worker from one sec- 
tion in one shop to another section in a second shop, or 
whether the company must make requisition upon the union. 
The Trade Board ruled that though " the agreement is not 
specific on the point," a transfer between sections was " con- 
trary to the agreement and to previous practice." 

From this decision the company appealed. Before the 
Board of Arbitration it maintained that it had the right under 



\ 



V.i 




372 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

the agreement and had " times without number " exercised 
the right of transfer from one section to another; that tbe 
only Citation upon such right was that the worker should 
not sustain uncompensated loss from it; and that the right 
in question was essential to efficient management The 
union, on the other hand, stated that it had no objection to 
transfer from one shop to another within the same section, 
provided of course that no uncompensated loss was mvolved, 
but that it did object to the transfer from one section to an- 
other when it had workers out of employment. It contended 
that no transfers from one section to another had been made 
without requisition and without arrangement with the union. 
The chairman of the Board of Arbitration, m agreement 
with the Trade Board, found that the agreement does not 
specifically provide for or prohibit the transfer of workers 
from one section to another. However, he obsenred that the 
right appeared to be implicit in at least one clause of the 
affl-eement : " If it becomes necessary m the judgment ot the 
company to transfer a worker from a lower to a higher paid 
section or operation, it is agreed that umon workers shall 
have preference in such transfers." In view of this clause 
the chairman dissented from the Trade Board conclusion 
that the arrangement entered into with the worker m this 
case was " contrary to the agreement and to previous prac- 
tice." He then rendered the opimon of the Board of Arbi- 
tration, as follows: 

« It must be said, however, that it is laudable for the union 
to seek to have as many of its members as possible share m the 
work available. That was its desire in this case. It is equally 
proper for the company to wish to give those on its payroU as 
continuous work as possible and to protect itself agamst Jh^ 
tendency of a section of week workers to spread work when t .» 
skck That was its obiect when in this case .t arranged w.th a 
union inspector-tailor to transfer him to a tailoring job nj 
another shop. Where there are two proper interests involved 
the chairman feels that a matter should be worked out in a co- 
operatke way. Moreover, unlimited transfer fro™ over- 
c?owdrsecti7ns to others by individual aRreement might lead 

to the break-down of the section »y«t«'" ^''^T^;". JX^' \"t 
division of work in the slack season. No doubt, if there were 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 378 

perfect freedom of transfer by the company, the union workers 
would ask for the lay-off of non-union workers and that their 
places be filled by the transfer of union workers from other sec- 
tions. Because of these considerations, the chairman urges 
that transfers from one section to another in the tailor shops 
be made as arranged with the union." 

The agreements in Chicago do not provide for the transfer 
of workers between different houses or firms. Yet there are 
situations that would make such transfers advantageous for 
both workers and employers. This applies in particular to 
the temporary shifting of workers from " ready-made " to 
" special order " or tailor-to-the-trade houses. Each of these 
groups of houses in the market has its own seasonal fluctua- 
tions — its busy season and its lull — and these do not coincide 
with the corresponding seasons of the other. Consequently, 
when the ready-made manufacturers are at the height of their 
production period, the tailors-to-the-trade have scarcely be- 
gun operations for the season. And conversely, when these 
shops are in full swing, the factories of the others are at the 
end of their season and running more or less far below capac- 
ity. At such times it was customary for many workers, 
especially cutters, having been laid off in the ready-made in- 
dustry, to seek temporary employment in the special order 
branch of the industry, and vice versa, until the return of the 
season in their own branch. It did not follow, however, in 
all cases that they returned to work for their former em- 
ployers. Instead, they might through the union or inde- 
pendently secure places in other houses, in this way imposing 
the costs of a high labor turn-over on the industry in general 
and on the employers concerned in particular. 

Out of this situation there arose, late in 1919, a desire on 
the part of certain tailors-to-the-trade for an arrangement 
by which temporary transfers of cutters from their own es- 
tablishments to ready-made houses could be effected. The 
demand for cutters in the market was such as to make it 
doubly desirable for an employer to keep his force together 
from one season to another, and this was the object at which 
the arrangement aimed. Since the agreement did not speci- 



li 

1:5 ; 

l' 



i 



.; 1 



874 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

ficaHy cover this situation, the employers attempted to pro- 
ceed directly in the matter. But the union interposed objec- 
tion to this procedure on the ground of its mterests and rights 
under the preference provision of the agreement. The matter 
^e to an issue in a^ase brought before the Trade Board- 
and decided on November 20. 1919. The case was uistituted 
by two firms, which may here be desigimted as E. & Co. and 
S & Co., which asked the Trade Board for a riding as to their 
riehts under the agreement to effect a transfer of workers 
bSween them. The facts as set forth by these firms were as 
follows: 

« That S. & Co. (taOors-to-the-trade) find that the present 
volume and the immediate future demands of its business do not, 
luS the employment of iU full number of cutters on fuU t,me^ 
The firm, however, wishes to be in a position to meet the de- 
mands of its next busy season by expanding its force of cutter . 
when the occasion justifies such action. In the "»«»»*""«''* 
Ithes to make an arrangement with E. & Co *«d p°->Wy;*^« 
' ready-made ' houses for the temporary ^anf^" "^^ "«r,J*" 
cutters to such firms with the understanding that they wiU be 
returned on request of either party. . ., , . 

« Accordance with such a plan of transfer the labor >nan- 
a«r of S. & Co. consulted four cutters in their employ who 
We had experience in « ready-made' houses. These men ex- 
nrlss^ a Sgness to be transferred. The shop chairman 
X was aSed^^f and in sympathy with the Proposal wenj 
^ftThe four men to the union headquarters and asM for their 
transfer. The deputy refused, saying in ^?%^^}'{^-^^P^: 
wanted cutters they should have made a requisition to the miion . 
Z?aere were cutters then unemployed who were available. 

Among the arguments advanced by the firms in support 
of their plan of transfer were the followmg: 

2 "That the proposed arrangement is beneficial to the 
workers involved. It makes for a periodic expansion and con- 
Wtion of the cutting force according to the demands of «« 
business li various stages of the season and makes for umnter- 
SS employment both to the workers transferred and toAe 
-^ent^o^e. It works toward the permanent employment 
«f flip workers and against * floating. 

8 -Sat it aids the employer in mainta nmg a stable and 
pemanerjersonnel, which is essential to highest production. 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 375 

It is especially important to the ' special order ' houses, which 
are the smaller factors in the industry, to exercise some measure 
of control over the supply of cutters which is trained for their 
particular requirements. 

6. " That the proposed arrangement is in accordance with a 
long standing practice in the Trade and does not involve condi- 
tions adverse to the interests of the workers which the agree- 
ment is intended to rectify • • • >» 

The union in its argument maintained that in all cases 
transfers of union workers must be approved by the union, 
that when an employer desired additional help he must make 
a requisition upon the union, that this was the Hart, SchaflF- 
ner and Marx practice, and that any other arrangement 
would be unsatisfactory because the available work would 
not be properly spread among the membership of the union, 
which the organization was expected to effect. 

In the course of his decision in the light of the arguments 
advanced by both sides and of independent investigation, 
the chairman of the Trade Board held that: 

" The practice of the Hart, Schaffner and Marx firm does 
not support the contention of the firms in this case that an em- 
ployer * is not bound by the agreement to requisition the Union 
for help when it is possible to secure union workers in some 
other way.' The contention (5) that the arrangement pro- 
posed in this case ' is in accordance with a long standing prac- 
tice in the trade ' is of no weight, for it was one object of the 
agreement to effect a change in that practice and the part of 
the agreement here involved was certainly given due considera- 
tion in the conference and was not merely copied without a 
knowledge that it involved a change from the past procedure 
in securing help. 

" The Trade Board holds that Article IV of the Agreement 
(Preference) means just what it says. • • ♦ It states that 
* whenever the employer needs additional workers, he shall first 
make application to the union, specifying the number and kinds 
of workers needed.* It is left to the union to determine who of 
those properly qualified and available shall be sent to fill the 
requisition. But if the union for any reason fails within a rea- 
sonable time to send workers as applied for, the employer is at 
liberty to secure them in the open market as best he can. 

" The Trade Board rules against the main contentions made 
by these firms. Transfers must be made in harmony with the 




ii 



876 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

clause in the agreement providing for reqmsition upon the 
uZn when additional workers are wanted The Board recog- 
Tes, however, the importance of what ,s stated .n contentions 
2 and 3, as weU as the importance of spreading work among 
the uni^n workers in the trade. It seems to the Trade 
Board that a more definite understanding relating to tr^nsfew 
should be agreed upon by the firms and the union. The repre- 
sentatives oTthe union have offered at the hearing to make an 
arrangement whereby a transfer will not result automatically in 
thX and relatively unfair wage when a man returns to his 
3ar place of work and to guarantee the return of men loaned 
Sits approval. This opens the way to secure much that the 
firms desire to secure through transfers of workers. 
The union's offer to insure employers against excessive 
wage demands by individual workers returning afje^ tempo- 
raiy employment by another house has reference to the way 
in which the principle of wage maintenance >" t^«"f ^" 
worked out in a time of strong competition for workers. A 
worker might be employed by another firm for a short per«^ 
of time at an increased wage and then return to his former 
position to receive at least this higher wage-a sum out of 
proportion to what those who had been in continuous employ- 
ment were receiving. If, therefore, after such tempo^ry em- 
ployment elsewhere, workers were to be required to return to 
Sieir places, not at the increased scale but at the rate previ- 
ously received by them, such restraint upon the workers as 
regards individual bargaining for wages could only be exer- 
cised by the union. The employers were m need of the union s 
cooperation in this matter, and the union offered it, together 
2 a guarantee to return the workers to their former places 
by way of the union's employment bureau. 

But the employers wanted more than this. They wanted if 
possible to eliminate entirely the union's .^n^^^;^™ J? 
such transfers, and, failing that, to secure jomt con*™! T^^^ 
the union over the selection of the workers. Accordingly a 
month after the foregoing decision had been ann°"P<=«^^y 
Sr. MiUis, the firms appealed to the Board of Arbitration. 
In their brief presented to the Board- they raised the ques- 
tion of strict hiterpretation as applied to Article IV of the 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 877 

agreement. They claimed that the primary purpose of the 
article on the preferential shop was to give members of the 
union preference over non-union workers, and not to give 
exclusive control over the allocation of labor to the union. 
They further claimed that a strict interpretation of the sec- 
tion in question with an exclusive control over the distribution 
of employment in the hands of the union would preclude a 
joint employment agency, which they considered a fairer and 
more efficient method of finding the right man for the right 
place. They claimed further that the principle of collective 
bargaining did not exclude all individual bargaining, for 
otherwise the preface of the agreement relating to " the 
establishment and maintenance of a high order of discipline 
and efficiency " would be defeated, as the management could 
exercise no function whatever in selecting the men whom it 
needed for its various kinds of work, but would have to 
depend entirely upon the judgment and wish of the union as 
to whom it might employ. The firms, therefore, wished the 
way left open for a joint employment bureau, and in particu- 
lar asked for a ruling on the principle of strict interpretation, 
on employment of members of the union without requisition, 
and on arrangement for transfer and release with individual 
workers without the intervention of the union. 

On behalf of the union Mr. Levin argued that the lan- 
guage of the agreement was explicit and that if the proposed 
practice of transfer were permitted two other provisions 
would be nullified, namely that providing for the dismissal 
of non-union help and that for equally dividing the work in 
the slack season. He also stated that the firm was given a 
trial period of two weeks in which it might decide whether 
to retain any worker sent, and that the office of the union 
undertook to exercise discretion as to the kind of workers to 
be sent to a particular firm in order to select those who would 
be best adapted to the methods and standards of that firm. 

In rendering the decision of the Board of Arbitration in 
this case the chairman made it clear that the principle of 
broad as against strict interpretation of the agreement should 
govern. He pointed out that wherever there was doubt as 



f' 



878 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

to whether the words of the agreement expressed the definite 
intent of the parties, or as to whether the ease in question 
was actually of the sort contemplated by the makers of the 
agreement, the general purpose as set forth in the preamble 
must be taken into account in construing the meaning of 
particular sections. Proceeding from this principle. Dr. 
Tufts ruled as foDows: 

'* It is the opinion of the Board that the primary purpose of 
this section (concerning the preferential shop) was to give pre- 
ference to union over non-union workers, and that it would be 
going beyond the clearly expressed purpose if it is interpreted 
to provide for a complete and exclusive allocation of workers. 
It is stated by the union that the firm still has some choice under 
the clause as it stands, for the firm has two weeks in which to 
give the workers a trial. It does not seem to the Board that 
this fully meets the needs of e£Scient management. In former 
times the attitude of the employer towards the requests by the 
worker for some say as to the conditions of employment was: 
*Here is the job; take it or leave it.' It savors of the same 
exclusive attitude if the union should say to the employer who 
desires to have some voice in selecting Uie particular kinds of 
men which he thinks would be suited for his work : * Here are 
ten men ; take them or leave them.' Instead of the former atti- 
tude the agreement under which the parties are now working has 
substituted conferences and joint action on a large number of 
important conditions such as prices, etc. It would clearly be 
more in accordance with the spirit and purpose of the agree- 
ment to have similar joint action in the case of selecting work- 
ers such as might be provided under a joint employment agency 
or an employment agency supervised by the impartial ma- 
chinery. The Board would therefore hold that the section 
in question is not to be interpreted as giving the union such 
exclusive control over the personnel of employes as to exclude 
the setting up of such a joint bureau • ♦ ♦ . Giving all due 
credit to the union for its desire to fit the workers to the 
needs of the different firms, it does not appear to the Board 
that its records and equipment are adequate for the purpose, 
and the Board believes that any exclusive assumption of control 
is less likely to be fair to both sides than a joint control • ♦ •'• 

Up to this point the decision carried a concession, at least 
in theory, to the empolyers' request for a recognition of the 
principle of joint control of hiring for the purpose of future 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 379 

negotiation. Over against this, the second part of the de- 
cision constituted a denial of the employers' particular pro- 
posal to deal directly with each other and with their indi- 
vidual workers for purposes of transfer, instead of through 
the agency or with the consent and cooperation of the union. 
In other words, the principle of collective bargaining and 
agreement was reaffirmed by the Board of Arbitration as 
governing any arrangement of this character. The Board 
continued: 

"As to whether the principle of collective bargaining per- 
mits the firm to make individual arrangements with the workers 
for transfers, or to employ members of the union without re- 
quisition, the Board would hold that such arrangement must 
be subject to the general principle of collective bargaining. 
So far as this Board is concerned it deals primarily with the 
union as represented through its officials, on the one hand, and 
with the firms as represented through their officials, on the 
other. It must assume that the parties to the agreement are 
the union and the firms rather than the individual workers or 
the individual foremen, superintendents, or stock-holders. 
Therefore any bargaining between individual members of the 
union and individual foremen or others representing the firms 
must be subject to the rules of their respective organizations 
or to the authority granted by the union or the firms respective- 
ly. Doubtless there are numerous practices involving individual 
bargaining, but these must be regarded as subject to the author- 
ity of the principals on each side, namely, the union and the 
firms. Otherwise it would be quite impossible for the union 
to be responsible for its men or the firms for their officials, and 
it is a necessity for the proper working of the agreement that 
there should be this responsibility on each side. In the case 
of transfers in employment, it may very well be in the interests 
of both parties that certain arrangements should be made for 
getting men in successive years who have had previous experi- 
ence with the houses, but such arrangement should be worked 
out under a general plan agreed upon by both sides. The deci- 
sion of the Trade Board recognizes certain desirable features 
in such arrangements. 

" In summary, therefore, this Board holds that the principle 
of preferential shop is to be interpreted as providing for joint 
rather than exclusive control over allocation of workers, and 
for joint arrangement for such individual bargaining as may 
be desirable, and would recommend to both parties the need 



I 

iir 



1]< 



380 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

of taking up this matter and working it out in accordance with 
the general spirit of the agreement and co-operation." 

Following out this recommendation of the Board of Ar- 
bitration and its own original suggestion, the union agreed 
with the manufacturers upon a plan of transfers under joint 
supervision. This plan provided for the release of cutters 
from their employment during the slack period in the trade 
to take employment temporarily with another house on the 
understanding with the union deputy that they would re- 
turn to their places at the request of the original employer. 
By this arrangement the employer was assured of retaining 
the services of cutters whose familiarity with the work in his 
establishment made them particularly valuable to him. At 
the same time the union was in a position to give or withhold 
its sanction for the transfer of each and every cutter thus 
released. And along with this control over the process, the 
union assimied responsibility for the return of the worker 
when needed, on the terms of his previous employment. 

This responsibility of the union, where such a joint ar- 
rangement had been entered into, is enf orcible through the 
impartial machinery, like any other phase of the agreement. 
In one case^*^ a firm petitioned the Trade Board for the re- 
turn of a cutter released on temporary transfer. In granting 
the petition the Board stated " that the firm has reason to 
expect the cutter to be returned because of the general prac- 
tice, the promise made by the cutter at the time he left and 
the promise of the deputy to see to it that all of the cutters 
named on the list presented to him, this man among them, 
would be returned at the beginning of a new season." 

Where no joint arrangement is made by the employer 
with the union for the transfer and subsequent return of the 
cutters in his employ, the union is under no obligation to see 
to it that such cutters return. They are free to remain in 
their new position or to seek employment elsewhere and the 
union is at liberty to send them out on requisitions in the 
order of their application. Formally, it is true, the employer 
is not prohibited from individual bargaining with the workers 
in reference to their temporary release and later resumption 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 881 

of their places. But when he resorts to this method he does 
so on his own responsibility and cannot expect the union to 
enforce the arrangement in his favor. An illustration is at 
hand"^ in the refusal of the union to sanction the return of 
a certain cutter, who had been previously released with prom- 
ise to have his job back on his return. The union not having 
been a party to the arrangement, declined to recognize it and 
considered the cutter as having quit his position with that 
house. He could return there only by making application 
to the union office for employment. In disposing of the 
firm's complaint in this case, the Trade Board held that 
" The union was clearly within its rights in insisting that 
this man take his turn with other cutters. The proper course 
in case of a temporary release is to have a joint understand- 
mg and to make arrangements accordingly. For the union 
to observe any other rule than that of placing workers and 
filling requisitions in order of application is to leave the way 
open for charges of preference and destroy all confidence in 
its enaployment office. The only exception that can be made 
to this rule is when arrangements are made at the time of 
leaving." 







382 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

EQUAL DIVISION OF WORK 

One of the objects sought by the union through larger con- 
trol over the hiring, lay-oflf and transfer of workers, is to 
insure a more equitable distribution among its members of 
the opportimities for employment in the industry. The 
principle of the preferential shop is of direct assistance to 
the union in this endeavor to lighten the burden of unem- 
ployment for its members. In the case of hiring, we have 
seen how union preference operates to allocate union workers 
to jobs in their order of application. Those longest out of 
work, other things equal, are first to be placed. In the mat- 
ter of lay-oflFs on account of over-crowded sections, non- 
union workers are the first to go, thus leaving the available 
work to be divided among imion workers and to that extent 
reducing the burden of unemployment within the organiza- 
ftion. When union workers have to be laid off, the order is 
/ determined by seniority in employment and in union mem- 
{ bership, and the organization has an opportunity to coop- 
^ erate. When imion workers are to be transferred, not only 
are their standards maintained but in the case of transfers 
between sections and between firms, at any rate, the union is 
given a voice in the arrangement. It is insofar enabled to 
protect the interests of its unemployed members, as in the 

cases last cited. 

But the efforts of the union to conserve and to spread 
work among its members are not limited to the enforcement 
of preference under the agreement. They extend to the 
application of another principle: that of the equal division 
of work during slack seasons. If a given amount of idle- 
ness unavoidably falls on union workers at such times, it is 
obvious that the sharing of the burden among a larger num- 
ber of them makes it easier to bear for each and all. On 
/this point the agreement provides as follows : " During the 
I slack season the work shall be divided as near as is practicable 
among all hands." This provision is of far reaching signi- 
ficance and is one of the most important steps achieved by 
the union in the direction of stabilizing as well as equalizing 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 883 

employment. It places responsibility upon the manufacturer 
for keeping all union workers in his employ at least par- 
tially supplied with work as long as his shops remain open. 
And by making the provision enf orcible through the impar- 
tial machinery, the agreement prevents discrimination on the 
employer's part between workers as regards their individual 

share of the total work that is to be done. ^ 

The practical significance of the rule of equal division of 
work, moreover, is heightened by the application to it of the 
principle of preference. Thus, non-union workers are not 
entitled to the benefits of the rule, i. e., they may not share 
in the work in the shop at such times. As part of( the original 
decision of August 30, 1913, interpreting the principle of 
preference,^^* this point is covered in part by the following 
provision: 

" If it becomes necessary to reduce the force in the tailor 
shops during the slack season in order to give a reasonable 
amount of employment to the workers who are retained, the 
Trade Board may order such reduction under the conditions 
hereinafter mentioned. The principle of preference to union 
members shall be applied in any reduction that may be made 
and the method of making a reduction on account of the slack 
season, shall be as follows : 

"The Company shall, in its discretion, initiate a lay-off 
whenever it deems the condition of the shops requires it. 

" Should it not exercise its power in such a manner as to pre- 
vent overcrowding of sections, the Chief Deputy shall, if he 
deems it necessary, make application to the company for the 
required reduction of sections, and if it fails to comply, he shall 
appeal to the Trade Board which shall decide whether or not 
the section is overcrowded as charged. In deciding the ques- 
tion of overcrowding, the Trade Board shaU take into considera- 
tion the claims of the company for protection of its organiza- 
tion, while giving effect to the principle of preference * * ♦." 

In applying the rule of equal division of work, elements 
of conffict constantly arise between the interests of the em- 
ployer and those of the union. On one hand, the employer 
would restrict as far as possible the operation of the rule of 
preference in this connection, which obliges hun to dismiss 
non-union workers whom he would otherwise retain. On 



ii 



m 



' 



l«Bft 



884 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

the other hand, the employer frequently prefers, when work 
is slaxsk, to cut down overhead costs by reducing his person- 
nel, especially those on week work, and dividing the avail- 
able work among a smaller number of people of his own 
selection. It is at this juncture that the union's insistence 
on an equal division of work among aU his union people pre- 
vents some of these from being thrown entirely out of em- 
ployment at the very time when jobs are hardest to find. 
A typical case of this kind^*» is that of a firm which at- 
tempted to discharge a number of its workers who could be 
spared during a period of axjute depression in the industry. 
The firm claimed that the obligation to divide work equally 
during the slack season was not applicable to existing con- 
ditions. The Trade Board, however, refused to release the 
firm from responsibiUty for continuing to give employment 
to all its union workers, unless further investigation should 
show that such a course would prove to be impracticable. 
The apparent conflict between the right of the employer 
under the agreement to lay oflf union workers when neces- 
sary to reduce sections, and his obligation to divide the work 
equally among all of them is responsible for many complaints 
by the union imder the provision in question. But the con- 
flict is in most cases only apparent, not real. The right to 
dismiss union workers applies merely in situations calling 
for a permanent reduction of the force, not to seasonal slack- 
ness in trade. When the nature of the situation is in dispute 
it is left to the Trade Board to decide. Thus we have the 
case of one O,^** a pocket maker, in whose behalf the union 
complained that he had been discharged without cause. 

At the hearing the union maintained that this worker had 
been discharged in violation of the clause in the agreement 
providing for equal division of work during the slack season. 
The firm contended, on the other hand, that under another 
section of the agreement it had a right to discharge union 
men whenever necessary, provided that any non-union men 
were laid off first. It contended, furthermore, that it was 
judge of when a situation made it " necessary " to discharge 
a worker or workers. It contended, finally, that a reduction 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 885 

of the number in the section involved in this case was 
** necessary " in order to prevent the workers (all on week 
work) from " going slow " and thus keeping themselves in 
fuU employment. 

In deciding which of the two contending principles was 
applicable in this case, the chairman of the Trade Board 
stated: 

** The evidence shows that this man was not discharged for 
^ cause,' but merely because the number of pocketmakers was 
larger than needed to do the work available during the slack 
season. The Board rules that one section of the agreement 
provides explicitly as to how such situations shall be met: 
* During the slack season the work shaU be divided as nearly as 
is practicable among all employes.' The particular problem 
here involved being covered fully and explicitly by this provi- 
sion, other and more general provisions of the agreement do not 
apply. With reference to the contention that if all are re- 
tained, the workers may then * go slow ' to keep themselves in 
full emplojrment, the Board merely points to the fact that the 
firm would in such an event have ground for a complaint of 
restriction of output and could ask for appropriate action. 

" This ruling does not mean that a firm may not seek to 
remove from its payroll workers not needed during the slack 
season. It may quite properly seek through the union to have 
those not needed placed in jobs elsewhere. If such an effort 
fails, however, the available work is to be divided as indicated 
above." 

The Trade Board accordingly ordered the pocket-maker 
to be reinstated. 

Not the least significant feature of the foregoing decision 
is that which makes the cooperation of the um'on essential 
for any reduction of force in the slack season, so far as it 
involves union workers. Until the union can find places 
for such workers elsewhere, the responsibility for keeping 
them employed on equal terms with other workers remains 
upon the management. The principle underlying this de- 
pendence of the employer upon the union for relief from a 
temporary surplus of week-workers is the same as that gov- 
erning the transfer of cutters and trimmers between dif- 
ferent firms in the market. 



i 



■ k 



386 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

The equal division of work in the slack season is a right 
guaranteed to union workers by the agreement, that cannot 
be defeated by any general powers of management in con- 
flict with it. It is a right that takes precedence not only 
over the employer's right of reducing sections or closing 
shops temporarily but also over his power of discipline. This 
is the meaning of a Trade Board decision"*^ in the case of a 
worker who was laid off as discipline for burning a garment 
in pressing. The firm in this case claimed that under the 
agreement it had the full right of discipline and discharge, 
and as a measure of discipline the firm had a right to refuse 
to give work to one who had carelessly damaged a garment. 
In the opinion of the Trade Board, however, " the scope and 
nature of the discipline the company may inflict is limited 
by the terms of the agreement. It does not seem permissible 
for the company of itself to inflict discipline that means the 
suspension of one of the clauses of the agreement as the one 
requiring equal division of work." 

The only limits placed by the agreement upon the appli- 
cation of the rule for dividing work equally are the limits 
of practicability. When this exception is invoked by the 
employer, the burden of proof rests upon him, and the Trade 
Board decides upon the merit of his contention. In a case^*' 
bearing on this point the union had requested that C, a 
man employed in the under-collar department, should share 
equally with the cutters in their temporary lay-off between 
seasons. The company objected to laying him off on the 
ground that he was the only man who could cut under-coUars 
efficiently with the up-and-down machine, and also on the 
ground that he had not been having equal lay-offs with the 
cutters in the past. The record bore out this latter conten- 
tion of the company. In view of the fact that C had had no 
lay-off for over five years, although lay-offs had taken place 
in the cutting room during that time, the Trade Board found 
that C was not required to accept lay-offs along with the 
cutters. " Usage has established his status." 

In practice, the equal division of work may be interfered 
with by an attempt of the employer to introduce overtime 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 887 

work in any section or department in which some workers 
are temporarily on lay-off. It is a well known policy of the 
union to discourage overtime work by some of its members 
while others are unemployed. But, under certain conditions, 
overtime work may be necessary in the interest of maintaining 
the balance of sections or the flow of work through the shop: 
To make such overtime possible while at the same time pre- 
venting its abuse and providing against its interference with 
the equal division of work among all the people entitled to 
such work, the Trade Board has laid down the following 
rules :^*^ (1) " That overtime shall not be resorted to for the 
purpose of increasing the normal capacity of the shop so long 
as any of the workers are laid off; (2) that where a section 
falls below the normal so as to disturb the balance of the shop 
and to make it necessary for other sections to wait for work, 
overtime is permissible; and (8) that where a given section 
works overtime, those of that section on lay-off shall be given 
equal opportunity to work overtime when they return from 
lay-off." 

The equal division of work in slack season may be ef- 
fected in a variety of ways. Workers may be employed 
either short days, i. e., a reduced number of hours every 
day, or short weeks, i. e., a reduced number of days in the 
week. They may be rotated in lay-off, on the principle of 
successive shifts, or they may be transferred through the 
intervention of the union from one shop to another, or 
finally from one firm to another. In the last case, the 
process of equalizing work is extended by agreement from 
an individual house to the market as a whole. The particu- 
lar method of sharing work most acceptable to both sides 
at any given time and place varies according to circum- 
stances. So that an arrangement that satisfies the workers 
in one shop or season may raise decided opposition in an- 
other. The curtailment of work and earnings that is neces- 
sarily involved when any division of work is put into effect 
is in itself a sufficiently ujipleasant fact for the workers 
concerned. If, then, the division is such as to leave any 
groimd for doubt as to its equality, if any of the workers 




388 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

feel that the arrangement works out to their disadvantage 
as against their feDows, mere discontent becomes resent- 
ment, and the workers have a grievance for which it is the 
f miction of the miion to seek redress. 

Because of this direct responsibility of the union toward 
the people in connection with the equal distribution of work 
in slack season, the need for management to secure the 
consent of the imion to any proposed scheme of distribu- 
tion has come to be recognized. The matter of giving prac- 
tical effect to the rule requiring work to be divided has 
thus become one for joint conference and agreement in 
advance. As early as 1915 this solution of the problem was 
urged by Mr. Williams in an arbitration decision^**. The 
dispute in the case before him turned on the question of 
how the provision of the agreement was to be applied in a 
particular situation; and out of this arose the broader ques- 
tion of procedure in such cases. 

In a certain section of off-pressers the company had di- 
rected that this provision be enforced by laying off two 
workers in turns, thus giving the workers an equal number 
of days in the shop. The union contended that this plan, 
while it secured equal division of lay-off, did not secure 
equal division of work; that owing to the variable output 
of the factory some days were more favorable than others, 
with the result that some earned several dollars per week 
more than others; that the off-pressers preferred to come 
into the factory each day and share equally such work as 
came in, and that they should not be deprived of a method 
they liked and to which they were accustomed when such 
a practice involved no expense to the company. The Trade 
Board having ruled that " all people be at work unless by 
special agreement some other arrangement is made," the 
company appealed on the ground that " no unnecessary 
limitation be put on the management " which should cause 
an " unnecessary strain upon the harmonious relations be- 
tween the union and the company." 

In adjudicating the issue of jurisdictional rights thus 
presented to him, the chairman of the Board of Arbitra- 



) 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 889 

tion ruled that the principle involved in this case of division 
of work was similar to that discussed in his " Decision on 
Joining Sections."" In this latter decision he had held: 
" This right like others not specifically limited by the agree- 
ment, inheres in the company; but it is to be exercised in 
8uch manner ss not to infringe on the rights of the workers." 
On the present occasion he reiterated this principle, saying 
that the company may exercise its right of initiating 
changes in the organization of work in the shop by admin- 
istrative order, as recognized in previous decisions, but must 
not invade the rights of the workman in so doing. " Any 
such act if it causes a complaint is subject to review." But, 
in conclusion, the Chairman went further than this. He 
stated: 

** In view of the discontent and injury to the good relations 
between workers and company which need to be sedulously cul- 
tivated and maintained, the chairman strongly recommends that 
the company confer with the representatives of the workers 
before initiating any changes likely to be objected to as in- 
jurious by those they are designed to affect. Such a conference 
becomes imperative when established wages or practices are 
affected by the proposed change." 

The rule requiring the equal distribution of work in slack 
season applies not merely to the workers in a given sec- 
tion, or even to the tailor shop as a whole, but to all the 
workers in all the shops of a given firm. Thus, if a firm 
has two tailor shops, the Trade Board has ruled that the 
division of work between the two shops should be equalized 
as regularly as possible in order to avoid dissatisfaction. 
In one such case^®*^ the Board proposed that the problem 
be met by a conference between the firm and the union. At 
the same time the Board suggested the transfer of some 
of the workers from one shop to the other by joint ar- 
rangement, as a possible way of sharing the work equally 
among all. 

In another case,^^ the firm with the consent of the union, 
had divided its Shop No. 5, to establish Shop No. 6 with 
half of the workers from No. 5. Later the union com- 



• 



I 



890 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

plained that the workers in Shop No. 6 had not received 
as much work as those in Shop No. 5. On the basis of 
data showing the distribution of work between the two 
shops, the Trade Board decided that " the shops must be 
kept distinct with approximately the same amount of work 
over a given period of time or reunited and put on the 
previous basis. The division of Shop No. 5 was certain 
to lead to dissatisfaction if those who were transferred did 
not have the same opportunity for employment as those 
who continued in Shop No. 5. This does not mean hair- 
splitting exactness with respect to hours or earnings, but 
it does mean approximate equality. With these considera- 
tions to guide, the chairman suggested a conference be- 
tween the firm and the imion. 

The rule for dividing the work equally between different 
tailor shops of the same firm applies, furthermore, not only 
to inside shops directly controlled by the manufacturer, but 
to outside or contract shops as well. The status of con- 
tractors and of the workers employed by them in relation 
to those directly employed will be dealt with in a subsequent 
section. At this point it is suflScient to state that union 
workers in approved contract shops are on an equal basis 
with the firm's own employes as regards their right to share 
the work in slack season. In a case in point,*® ^ a firm had 
sent out some of the work done formerly by one contractor 
to a second contractor who also employed union people 
and maintained the market rates of wages. No complaint 
had been made by the union for two months after the change 
was made, thus leaving the inference that it was agreeable. 
The Trade Board held that although the firm was under 
obligation to provide work to the people employed by the 
first contractor, those in the second contractor's shop had 
developed a similar interest, and claims to the work. And 
the chairman ordered the work to be divided between the 
two contractors as it had been prior to the complaint. 

Even where the several shops of a firm are engaged in 
producing different styles of garment — such as overcoats 
in one, and sack coats in another — the claim of the workers 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 391 

in these shops to share between them whatever work the 
firm may have, has been recognized. Thus it happens that 
at the beginning of the light-weight season, when no more 
overcoats are to be manufactured, a firm may deem it eco- 
nomical to close temporarily the shop which is specialized 
for the production of these winter garments. There seems 
to be nothing in the agreement to prevent the firm from 
discontinuing even temporarily a department of its busi- 
ness for which there is no more need, by laying off the 
workers in that department with due notice in advance, 
and >vithout discrimination. But if these workers are quali- 
fied to do the work of a related department which continues 
in operation, and especially if they have on previous occa- 
sions shared in the work of the other department, there is 
ground for their claim to share in the work again. 

A case of this character^^* came up before the Trade 
Board in the form of a petition by a firm for a ruling as to 
its right under the agreement to " temporarily close down 
our overcoat shop due to the fact that we have completed 
our overcoat manufacturing program for this season and 
will not have work for several weeks." In support of its 
position the firm contended that the workers in the overcoat 
shop had during the past year enjoyed more hours of pro- 
duction and greater pay than any of the other shops. For 
this reason, the firm maintained, to close its overcoat shop 
temporarily would not be an infringement or violation of 
the equal division of work clause in the agreement. The 
union, on the other hand, contended that past practice 
should continue; that the agreement was for the clothing 
industry, not for the sack coat or overcoat industrv: that 
as a rule workers made more on overcoats than on sack 
coats; that hours worked in the overcoat shop were inci- 
dental to the season; and that the practice in the market 
was to go from overcoats to sack coats, or vice versa. 

The Trade Board in deciding this case in favor of the 
people, held that " the interests of management, apart from 
practice or the rights of the workers, make it inadvisable 
to close the overcoat shop as contemplated and disrupt the 



892 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

working force. However, the Board does not make this 
the basis for its ruling. Overcoat workers have been given 
sack coats during the slack season in the past and are en- 
titled to share the work now ♦ ♦ ♦." 

A more difficult problem from the standpoint of the 
worker's claim to an equal share of the work is presented 
in the event of a more permanent contraction of business, 
such as would ordinarily lead to a reduction of the force. 
Even then, however, the principle of equal division has 
gained recognition as being preferable to outright dismissal 
in disposing of union workers in a time of depression. The 
issue arose in a typical case*®* where the firm had aban- 
doned one of its two coat shops without making any pro- 
vision for the workers formerly employed therein. The 
union requested the Trade Board to order the firm to make 
room for all of its coat shop employes so that they might 
share equally in its work. Both the shops (No. 1 and No. 
7) had been closed during the slack season. The firm, fail- 
ing to reach an agreement with the union on the permanent 
discontinuance of one of them, reopened shop No. 1 but 
kept No. 7 closed at the beginning of the new season. 

At the hearing the union contended that all of the 
workers employed in Shop No. 7 must share equally in the 
firm's work, be that much or little. It based this claim on 
the clause of the agreement providing for equal division of 
work in slack season, and on the practice at Hart, Schaflf- 
ner and Marx when shops have been merged. The firm, 
objecting to the union's suggestions for keeping all the peo- 
ple employed, contended that imder the agreement it was 
not required or expected to go beyond what was practicable 
in the division of work. It also pointed to a paragraph in 
the agreement reading: " Should it at any time become 
necessary to reduce the number of employes, the first ones 
to be dismissed shall be those who are not members of the 
union." And by direct implication, the firm argued, it had 
the right to discharge members of the union when it became 
necessary to reduce the number of employes. 

The chairman of the Trade Board rejected this view of 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 393 

the firm's rights in the matter. He stressed, on the con- 
trary, its responsibilities. Referring to an earlier Trade 
Board case, dealing with a similar situation, he quoted from 
it as f oUows : " All Trade Board and Board of Arbitra- 
tion decisions bearing upon the matter have been to the 
effect that some degree of responsibility has been developed 
for all union workers brought into the trade and employed 
by a firm so long as the firm continues to manufacture 
clothing." The chairman then stated that " all cases thus 
far coming up in connection with the closing and merging 
of shops have been settled (by agreement except in two 
instances) in the light of this principle, all union workers 
being continued in employment unless it was impracticable 
to do so. The present case has been approached in the 
same way." 

The evidence presented at the first hearing on this case 
convinced the Trade Board that it was not practicable to 
continue shop No. 7 or to enlarge shop No. 1 as suggested 
by the union, and that the firm's obbgations to its workers 
under the agreement did not extend that far. On the other 
hand, the Board felt that something more than had been done 
was called for, especially at a time " when employment in 
the community presented a problem not to be enlarged if it 
could reasonably be avoided." It therefore called for exact 
data on what had been done in transferring workers to shop 
No. 1 and on what possibilities of employment this shop 
afforded. The data presented at the second hearing showed 
that somewhere between 50 and 60 of the original 118 
workers from shop No. 7 would remain unprovided with 
jobs and individual stations even after vacancies in shop No. 
1 had been filled and certain additions by transfer made. 
With reference to these the chairman announced the follow- 
ing decision: 

" The Board is of the opinion that no arrangement can be 
made for their employment that will not be open to some objec- 
tion by them, their fellow workers, and the firm. Nevertheless 
it feels that the situation is such that they should be given a 
chance to share the firm's work by * rotating ' with the others in 



]\ 



ill 



I 



894 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

the sections in which they have worked. The chief difficulty 
involved in this from the workers' point of view lies in the fact 
that two or more operators in rotation will in a few cases make 
use of the same machine. To meet the problem of adjustment 
required the Board rules that each operator going on or return- 
ing to a machine used by another in this rotating process, shall 
have hour work for the first two hours. 

" This arrangement for a merger of the two shops, is a make- 
shift. It is recognized that quitting for better jobs will before 
long reduce numbers to those needed to man the shop. The 
process will not give the best possible selection of workers and 
may be open to other objections by the firm. The payment of 
a limited amount of hour work in a few cases will cost a little. 
The firm, however, has responsibilities to the workers which 
should and must be met, though not convenient. The Trade 
Board regards the arrangement • • • as practicable, the 
situation being what it is, and called for by the agreement, 
which provides that ' During the slack season • ♦ ♦ the 
work shall be divided as nearly as is practicable among all em- 
ployes.' " 

The principal method recommended by the Trade Board 
in the foregoing case for equally distributing the work is that 
of transferring workers from one shop of the firm to another. 
This method combines the economy of reduced overhead 
costs to the manufacturer with the advantage to the workers 
of sharing on an equal basis, at least temporarily, in what- 
ever work there be. Such an arrangement is sometunes made 
by voluntary agreement between the employer and the 
union, and in that case the matter does not come up before 
the impartial machinery imless one side or the other fails to 
live up to its engagements. Thus in the following case,*®* 
in which the union charged that the firm had not carried out 
arrangements to transfer the people from shop No. 1 to 
shop No. 4. The people in shop No. 1 had been laid oflf, 
while those in shop No. 4 were working. After conference 
with the union the firm had agreed " that the work was to be 
made in shop No. 4 and that we would transfer shop No. 1 
workers to shop No. 4." The complaint of the imion was 
that after a lapse of more than three weeks, a considerable 
number of people formerly in shop No. 1 were still out, and 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 395 

further that the firm was reported as considering sending 
work out to contractors. The Trade Board ruled as follows 
on the action of the firm: 

"The agreement cited above contemplated the transfer of 
shop No. 1 people if and when there was work for corresponding 
sections in shop No. 4. In other words, if the people in any 
section in shop No. 4 were working the people from the corres- 
ponding section of shop No. 1 were to be called back at once 
to share whatever work was in shop No. 4. The Board under- 
stands that sections in shop No. 4 have been working and that 
people from Hke sections in shop No. 1 have not been called 
back. In the degree that this is correct the firm has violated 
the intent of the agreement and is to be censured for it. The 
firm is directed to carry out the agreement at once. Procras- 
tination in matters of this sort breaks down the spirit of 
negotiation and leads to unnecessary Htigation. The Board 
would state further that to send work out to contractors in the 
light of the circumstances noted would work an injustice that 
the firm could scarcely defend before the Trade Board." 

When, subsequently, the union requested the Trade Board 
to order payment for time lost by workers from shop No. 
1 in consequence of the firm's dilatoriness in transferring 
them the impartial chairman directed that:^** 

"An equitable arrangement will be to give the workers in 
question an opportunity in connection with lay-offs to make up 
the time lost. If they had been transferred promptly they 
would have had some of the work that has been done by others. 
It will be fair now to give the others a greater amount of lay- 
off, that these few may have their share of work ♦ ♦ ♦ The Board 
is of the opinion, moreover, that the firm can well afford to 
permit the representatives of the workers to share in the respon- 
sibiUty of lay-off arrangements and that less disaffection will 
follow such a course of action. This does not subtract from 
the powers of management. Rather, it helps to fix respon- 
sibihty and to make control effective.'* 

The apportionment of lay-oflF periods as a method of 
equalizing work in slack season is most conunonly applied to 
week workers, notably to cutters and trimmers. Since their 
earnings are not immediately aflFected by the flow of work 
from day to day, an equal division of time is at least as 
equitable from the standpoint of earnings as a strict division 



896 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

of work would be. Moreover, a lay-oflf extending over a 
week or two at a time may be utilized by the worker as a 
vacation period or otherwise, while a shorter work day or 
work week does not oflFer corresponding compensations. 
Notwithstanding advantages of this nature on the side of a 
lay-oflf system of dividing work, the sentiment of the workers 
may in a given situation be opposed to it. We have already 
met with such an attitude in the case of the oflf-pressers cited 
above (p. 388). The determination of what particular 
method is to be used cannot, therefore, be left entirely in 
the hands of the employer. Although in connection with 
the case^^^ referred to, Mr. Williams had reconmiended con- 
ference between the parties whenever interests of both were 
involved, the claim of management to sole jurisdiction in 
these matters has not been entirely relinquished. 

In a fairly recent case before the Board of Arbitration*^* 
the representative of the firm asked for a definition of their 
rights with reference to the equal division of work in slack 
season. They claimed it was the function of management 
to administer this equal division by any method which would, 
in the judgment of the management, give the best results, as 
by rotation of lay-oflFs, by shortening the day or week, or 
by shutting down the whole shop for a period. The Board 
of Arbitration ruled that the method of administering the 
equal division was " both a matter of management and a 
matter of convenience to workers. Neither is absolute. In 
case an agreement cannot be reached between the firms and 
the union, upon a method which will satisfy both of those 
interests, the case is to be referred to the Trade Board." 

Despite this and the earlier ruling, however, some em- 
ployers persist on occasion in instituting independently some 
particular form of division of work, instead of previously 
consulting the union and securing its approval for the ar- 
rangement. In such instances the imion obtains redress 
through the Trade Board. This was the procedure followed 
in the case of a firm*®^ that according to the union's com- 
plaint, had issued orders that the shop would close Satur- 
days. The firm stated at the hearing that the order was the 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 397 

result of business conditions; that the cutters and trimmers 
were rotating lay-oflFs and the people in the tailor shop were 
working short time or rotating lay-oflFs, but that even with 
this arrangement there were not enough orders coming in 
to work the full week. The union contended that any pro- 
posed change in lay-oflF arrangement should be taken up in 
conference. While insisting that employment should be for 
a full week at a time whatever the system of rotation, the 
union suggested that if the firm wished to shut down Satiu"- 
days payment should be made for a full week and overtime 
be worked during the busy season so that earnings would be 
spread more evenly over slack and busy times. 

In his decision in this case Chairman Squires, besides 
recommending a conference between the union and the firm 
with a view to working out a more satisfactory arrangement 
for equalizing employment, rendered the following opinion 
on the broader issue: 

" The Trade Board feels that the right amount of coopera- 
tion should make for an arrangement that will recognize and 
protect the interests of the firm and the workers. Neither the 
firm nor the union can escape the burden of slack seasons, but 
it should be made as easy as possible. Market practice is not 
uniform with respect to lay-offs. In some cases the short week 
will cause more dissatisfaction than a rotation arrangement 
even though the earnings in the aggregate are unaffected. The 
firm is expected to meet the convenience of the workers in the 
matter of lay-offs so far as it is not inconsistent with efficient 
management." 

The responsibility of the employer for alleviating the 
necessary evil of seasonal unemployment for his workers 
finds its most effective expression through his co-operation 
with the union in putting into practice the rule for an equal 
division of work. 



898 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

DIVERSION OF WORK 

The operation of the equal-division-of-work rule under the 
preferential principle carries a further implication that has 
yet to be considered. We have thus far given attention 
chiefly to the rule as it stands, that is, to the claim of the 
individual worker to share equaUy with his fellows in the 
work on hand. In the succeeding pages the situation will 
be viewed as it is affected by the appUcation of the principle 
of union preference. For not all the employes of a firm 
are entitled to share in the work. Nor do those who are 
have an equal claim to it. Preference involves (Hstinctions 
even within the group of imion workers — distinctions based 
upon their status as employes of a particular firm and in 
a sense analogous to that of seniority in relation to lay-offs 
and transfers. Where, as in Chicago, there is virtually com- 
plete organization of the workers in the industry, the prin- 
ciple of preference gets new significance by becoming at- 
tached to other factors than mere union membership. In 
this way it comes to serve positive policies and ends for which 

the union stands. , , 

Under the general principle of the preferential shop, it is 
already clear that union workers have the first claim not 
only upon the jobs but upon the work in the shops. This 
means not merely that they shall divide among themselves 
the work during slack season, as against sharmg it with non- 
union workers, who are first to be laid off. It also means 
that supervisory employes— oflScials of the management, 
members of the firm, foremen, examiners, etc. — shall not be 
considered workers and may not participate in the produc- 
tive work of the shop in a manner to reduce the share of 
any union worker employed there. The implied principle 
underlying the application of preference in this field is that 
a union worker through the fact of his more or less per- 
manent employment with a firm establishes a right to the 
job and to all the conditions and privileges pertaining to the 
job. These cannot be diminished or diverted by the em- 
ployer at a time when work is slack. It is at such times, 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 399 

however, that employers are under the greatest temptation 
to encroach upon the workers' acquired rights, and the union 
must be correspondingly vigilant in protecting these rights. 
The question of whether a foreman may during the slack 
season perform labor that would otherwise be performed by 
union workers came up before the Board of Arbitration^^^ 
on appeal from a Trade Board decision as early as the spring 
of 1914. The company, contesting the Trade Board's de- 
cision in this case claimed that it was an economic waste to 
let its foremen remain idle during the slack season when they 
might be put at productive labor to the advantage of the 
company, and ultimately, of the industry. The union re- 
plied that this saving should not be made at the expense of 
union members. It held that to permit such practice might 
lead to serious results in the future, inasmuch as there were 
a large number of supervisory people who under such a rule 
could be used to displace an equal number of union work- 
men. It held, too, that the matter was covered by the agree- 
ment which provided that in the slack season the work should 
be equally divided. After weighing all the arguments, Mr. 
Williams announced his decision as follows: 

" The chairman is impressed with certain points of value in 
both these claims (that) are worthy of being conserved. That 
economic waste should be avoided is a truism. But the chair- 
man feels that to permit the foreman to take the work which the 
workers feel they are entitled to under the agreement will cause 
more dissatisfaction than would be compensated by the saving. 
He, therefore, does not feel warranted in controverting the in- 
terpretation of the agreement as made by the Trade Board, or 
of reversing the decision. He recommends, however, that the 
union be not technical in its objection to foremen performing 
such labors as do not run counter to union interests in a tangible 
way, and that they be encouraged to be useful in such ways as 
may be possible without raising greater difficulties than can be 
compensated." 

The union's contention in the foregoing case that in the 
absence of restrictions upon the right of supervisory officials 
to share in the productive work of the shop such officials 
might be used to displace union workers, is not as fanciful 



■M 



I 



400 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

as it may sound. On a smaU scale, any redistribution of 
work between workers and their supervisors^ though maugu- 
Tated in the name of economy, has this eflfect if it enables 
the firm to reduce a section by even one umon man. Ihe 
way in which such diversion of work may operate to reduce 
the employment of union people, whether on week or piece- 
work, is illustrated in the following Trade Board case. 

The management in this case had given certam bushehng 
to the examiners to do which had previously been the work 
of the armhole pressers. This was the bushehng reqmred 
after repairs on the coat by some other section, and there- 
fore not to be done by the armhole pressers without com- 
pensation. In this case the armhole pressing was by hour 
work, and the company stated that it was opposed to havmg 
the section bushel its own work on hour work. The union 
contended that this transfer of work from union workers 
to the examiner was contrary to agreement and to a rulmg 
pf the Board of Arbitration. ^ ^ rr a 

As to that ruhng, however, the chairman of the Irade 
Board did not agree that any definite decision had been made 
forbidding the examiner or foreman from doing work under 
any circumstances. He held that the Board of Arbitration 
had confined itself to a strong recommendation that work be 
not transferred from the people to a foreman, especially dur- 
ing the slack season and where " such labor runs counter to 
union interests in a tangible way." In the present case, he 
held, " it is clear that turning busheling over to the exammer 
aflfects the interest of the people in a tangible way. It de- 
prives them of work and compensation that they formerly 
received. By * busheling ' the Trade Board refers to the 
bushehng required where the error or defect does not fall in 
the armhole presser section. If an armhole presser does not 
do his work properly he can be required to bushel it without 
additional cost to the company. But armhole pressing when 
required because of bushehng of another section would seem 
to be the legitimate work of armhole pressers." 

As part of the same case, the union complained that a boy 
who had been doing neck-marking had been transferred to 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 401 

another shop, and instead of sending in a requisition the com- 
pany had given his work to the examiner. The company 
stated that the boy had been transferred to other work with- 
out loss to himself, and that, therefore, there was no loss to 
the people. In finding the company in error in this case, the 
impartial chairman ruled : " This was a specific task per- 
formed by a worker in the union and under the agreement. 
The Trade Board cannot see how this position, when vacated 
by transfer of the worker, can be filled by the examiner. The 
procedure would be to file requisition to fill the vacancy but 
not to pass the work to an examiner." In a supplementary 
decision the chairman cited in support of this ruling the pro- 
vision in the agreement that " whenever the employer needs 
additional workers he shall first make application to the 
union," etc. And he concluded : " An examiner is not classi- 
fied as a worker. He is excluded from the provisions of the 
agreement and is not eligible to become a union member by 
reason of the fact that he is an examiner. Where a vacancy 
occurs, as in this case, the company cannot substitute a non- 
union worker for the union man until application has first 
been made to the union. The agreement is clear on this 
point." 

Conflict over the right to the work of a firm may arise not 
merely as between union and non-union workers, or as be- 
tween union workers and foremen or other officials. It mav 
arise even as between union workers regularly employed and 
other union workers newly hired when work is slack. During 
slack seasons every additional worker hired from outside 
would naturally reduce the employment and earnings of 
those already on the job, whose work such a new-comer would 
be permitted to share. Hence, the rule of preference at such 
times operates necessarily against some union members and 
in favor of others, who have by seniority in employment es- 
tabhshed a prior claim to the available work. Without the 
protection of such a rule, union workers of long standing 
might find themselves actually displaced from their jobs as a 
result of an overcrowding of section produced by the manage- 
ment in adding new workers when none were needed. An 




f-' I 



402 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

illustration of this type of diversion of work is presented in 
the following case.^^** 

The union in this instance complained that the work of 
ofF-pressing on knickerbockers, which until recently had been 
done by the regular pressers on trousers, was now being given 
to two new men. The union contended that the company 
had no right to hire these pressers while regular pressers were 
available. The company replied that inasmuch as the work 
was hour work they were free to hire whomsoever they wished 
to do it. The imion then pointed out that there was not suffi- 
cient work for the regular pressers and that if any additional 
pressing was to be done it should be done by regular pressers. 
Investigation showed that the regular pressers were easily 
capable of turning out the additional work on knickerbockers. 
Under the circumstances the Trade Board sustained the con- 
tention of the imion and directed the work in question to be 
given again to the regular pressers. 

The practical problem to which all these efforts of the 
union are addressed is that of distributing the available work 
among union people in such a way as to secure for them the 
greatest possible stability in emplojmoient. This is the object 
also of the union's policy favoring the inside as over against 
the contract shop with the ultimate elimination of the latter. 
The principle of preference has been extended so as to make 
this policy a recognized policy of the market. The contractor 
is the least stable factor in the industry. Not only is he 
financially less secure, as a rule, than the independent manu- 
facturer. His relatively small investment of capital tends to 
make him less conservative both as a business man and as an 
employer. Besides, his activity in production tends to 
fluctuate more markedly with the seasons than does that of 
the inside manufacturer. But whatever the precise reasons 
for the policy, preference in the distribution of work is within 
certain important limits to be accorded to the inside shops. 
Without going into the still unsettled question of the status 
under the agreement of the contract shop, we may briefly 
indicate in the following pages the manner in which the prin- 
ciple of preference operates in this field. 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 403 

In the report of a committee of which Professor Tufts was 
chairman and which was appointed by him to work out a plan 
for dealing with the contractors' situation,*^ ^ we find the fol- 
lowing reconmiendation : 

'^ That in slack season, firms shall endeavor to make such dis- 
tribution of work between their own shops and their con- 
tractors as shall reduce as much as possible irregularity of 
employment, and especially prevent the sudden cessation of all 
employment for persons who are employed either in their own 
shops or by the contractors. Provided, this shall not be under-^ 
stood as opposing a general policy of change from contracting j 
to work in inside shops." _ y 

Inasmuch as union workers are employed in contract shops 
no less than in inside shops, it is obvious that the union is 
concerned that no discrimination be practiced against its 
members irrespective of where they are employed. This con- 
sideration must, consequently, limit the application of pref- 
erence as against workers in contract shops. As a matter of 
practice, therefore, preference of this nature relates prin- 
cipally to the future and to new situations, rather than to 
conditions already existing and fixed by usage. It has par- 
ticular significance, of course, in dull times, when the ques- 
tion of dividing the work among the people entitled to it 
presents a real problem. 

To illustrate: A dispute came to the Trade Board^^^ 
over the sending out by a firm of several hundred overcoats 
to contractors in the course of a month. The imion con- 
tended that these garments should have been made in the 
firm's own shops, for the workers were being laid oflF. The 
Trade Board had before it the question as to how decisions 
are to be made with reference to where work shall be done; 
in other words, as to the respective claims upon the work of 
the inside and the outside shop workers. The chairman based 
his ruling upon the above mentioned report of the committee 
to the effect that contract work should not be encouraged 
and, by implication, that garments should be made in inside 
shops as far as practicable. He stated: " In the spirit of 
this report, which has been generally accepted as sound, some 



I 






I 



404 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

of the labor managers have advised their firms not to send 
out work to new contractors without first conferring with the 
union. The results show the wisdom of this policy. In the 
interests of harmony and a sound development of the market, 
the Trade Board urges that such conference be had in all 



1 



cases. 



>> 



The division of work between the people employed in the 
inside shop of a firm and those employed by a contractor to 
whom the firm sends part of its work, depends on the claim 
to the work established by the contractor through past prac- 
tice. Concretely, if a Gnn has been accustomed to do 60 
per cent, of its work in its own shops and to distribute the 
other 40 per cent, among two designated contractors in the 
proportion of three to one, then, even in slack season, the 
workers in the two contract shops are entitled to 80 and 10 
per cent., respectively, of all the work this firm may have, 
while the people inside will have no grievance if they continue 
to receive at least the customary 60 per cent, of the total. If, 
however, the firm has no such existing relations with con- 
tractors, whose workers may rightfully expect to share in the 
work up to the usual proportion, the firm may not send out 
work to any new contractor without previous consent from 
the union, particularly in slack season. The claim of a con- 
tractor's workers to share in a firm's work must be estab- 
lished by usage over a period of time. Thus, if in the busy 
season the firm has more work than can be conveniently 
turned out by its own shops, it may, by an understanding 
with the union, send the excess of work to be made in an out- 
side shop. After that, whenever the firm is again in the posi- 
tion of having to send out work of that character, the same 
workers have a first claim upon such work. But no greater 
proportion of the firm's work may be sent out even to these 
workers than they had previously received from the firm in 
question. Where a contractor has been accustomed to re- 
ceive a definite proportion of the firm's work, whether in or 
out of season, his workers have a claim to share in that work 
to the usual extent even while the inside shop is slack. 

Some light is thrown upon this somewhat complicated 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 405 

system of preference by a few typical cases. In one case^^' 
the umon complained that a firm when slack had diverted 
work from its coat-shop to two contractors, and requested 
that the sending out of work be stopped and the firm's work- 
ers be paid for that already made outside. The firm an- 
swered that it had sent work out when its workers were 
einployed fuU time and, once begun, it should now be per- 
mitted to continue to do so when its own shop was somewhat 
slack. The evidence submitted to the Trade Board showed 
that until very recently the workers had been in the shop 44 
hours per week, and also they had had fairly full employ- 
ment. In view of these facts the Trade Board ruled that " in 
sending out work the firm has not been acting improperly 
and It rules adversely on the union's request that the firm's 
employes be paid for this work. It rules, further, that while 
work is slack the firm may continue to send out the same pro- 
portion of its work (namely, 9.6 per cent.), to the two con- 
tractors It has sent them since September, but that to send 
them a larger proportion or to send coats to another con- 
tractor would be improper and contrary to a just claim of its 
workers." 

In the foregoing decision the Trade Board proceeded on 
the assumption that a claim had been established on the 
part of the contractors to a definite share in the firm's work 
and that to this extent the workers directly employed by 
the firm could claim less than the total of work even when 
slack. In the following case no such established relation 
between the firm and the contractor existed and it was not 
therefore, at liberty to send him work without special ar-' 
rangement with the union whUe any of its own employes 
were working short time. 

The union complained on this occasion^^* that a firm had 
sent work to contractors against the orders of the Trade 
Board, and that this action had caused a stoppage of the 
entire shop. The firm admitted sending work to contrax^- 
tors but contended that the shop generally had been work- 
ing full time with overtime for four weeks prior to the stop- 
page, though some of the sections might have less than 




1^ 



406 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

full-time work owing to the character of work being made 
in the shop. The Trade Board finding the firm at fault in 
the matter held that " the principle is fairly well estab- 
lished that work is not to be sent outside when the people 
in the inside shop are working short time. This does not 
apply, of course, in cases where the division of work be- 
tween inside and outside shops has been recognized or where 
certain work has been made outside regularly. In this case 
there is no question that the work sent outside belonged to 
the inside shop." 

A certain preference is due to the workers in the inside 
shop even where by agreement or usage a firm has estab- 
lished definite relations with a contractor, in accordance 
with which the firm is entitled to send work out to such 
contractor in a fixed proportion of its total work. For this 
proportion is intended as a practical maximum, not to be 
exceeded even temporarily. The firm may not withhold 
work from its inside shop and send its garments out to con- 
tractors in excess of the established proportion. This issue 
came up before the Trade Board^^** through the complaint 
of the union that a certain firm had closed down its inside 
coat shop and was sending out its work to outside shops. 
The work sent out in this case was rush work. The firm was 
the one in whose favor the Trade Board had previously 
ruled (see p. 405), permitting it to send not to exceed 
9.6 per cent, of its coats to contractors. The firm, appar- 
ently without the knowledge of the labor manager, had 
placed its own interpretation upon that decision and had 
sent more than 15 per cent, of its work out, expecting to 
even this up later. The impartial chairman disallowed 
such procedure, stating: " This was not the intention of 
the Trade Board. It did not expect the firm to go ahead, 
exceed the percentage allowed, and even up in the course 
of time." The Board therefore directed that no more coats 
be sent to contractors imtil the total sent them since the 
date of the previous decision no longer exceeded 9.6 per 
cent, of the total, and from that time forth to remain within 
the percentage allowed. 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 407 

Several months later this firm was again the subject of 
complaint."* The union charged that the firm was about 
to close its tailor shop and to send the work to contractors. 
The union requested the Trade Board to direct that no 
work be sent outside while the tailor shop was closed. The 
firm argued that it was privileged by Trade Board decision 
to send 9.6 per cent, of its coats to contractors; that for 
several weeks no coats had been sent out; that the firm had 
fallen below the permitted quota; and that the number to 
be sent out while the tailor shop was closed would not bring 
the total above the percentage authorized by the Trade 
Board. The chairman of the Trade Board, taking all the 
circumstances of the case into account, ruled against the 
position of the firm both on the ground of its technical 
rights^ and on the score of expediency. The chairman ruled 
that while the firm may close the tailor shop if it chooses, 
It may not send the work out to contractors while the shop 
IS closed." ^ 

Within a few weeks of this decision the union com- 
plained"^ of its violation by the firm and requested that the 
people be paid for work that should have been given them. 
The finn admitted sending out some work but stated that 
the bulk of the work sent out consisted of Pahn Beach 
coats, which had not been made in the inside shop, and 
that the only other work sent out was rush orders which 
would have cost the firm valuable patronage if delayed. 
In ruhng upon this complaint, the chairman stated: "This 
IS not the first time that this firm has chosen to violate a 
decision of the Trade Board. The firm must have known 
that It would have to meet the problem of rush orders and 
Jould have taken the matter up with the union or the Trade 
Board and not have gone ahead in the face of a Trade 
Board decision. The Board rules that * * * the Palm 
Beach coats not made inside previously might be sent out- 
side during the week the shop was closed without violating 
the decision. The workers are to be paid for the other 
coats sent outside while the shop was closed " 

An aggravated form of diversion of work, even more 



4 



I 



*l 





408 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

serious than a violation of the preferential principle witldn 
!^^K«r^rthe sending by a firm of its work to a non-union 
o^SCCumon workers have, of course, no cla.m 
Sare during slack season in the work of a firm operatmg 
under the agrfement with the union. Nor has such a firm 
ri to S «iy of its work at any time to a contractor 
^ho^dls S eSoy union workers, whether the pm-p^e 
Te to reduce costs or not. The only exception to tbs rule 
Ts a situation in which no union contractor « »vailf e to do 
the work required by the firm, and even then an under 
standing with the union is called for. 

A c^e in point"" is one in which the union requested the 
TradeX^rd^o order a certain firm to discontinue sening 
work to^a non-union shop. The firm disclaimed knowledge 
Twbettier the shop was union or non-union until complaint 
:ldtfe:%iti:n, "after which it had wittihdd f ur^er work 
pending the hearing. The chairman of the Trade Board 
JSed It the hearing that " mider the preferential clause 
T^e agreement. firSs are to give P-f«-"- %-"*[ff " 
onerating union shops. This places upon the firm the re- 
:?:nStv of asceSaining in advance whether the con- 
tractor is "operating a union or a non-union *op. The 
Board directed that no more work be sent to this contrac 
for. The question, of whether union contractors were avail- 
aWe or whether the work could be made mside was left to 
be met iointly by the firm and the union. 

In a iompJtitive industry in which labor costs are a fac- 
tor of weight, it is to be expected that some «»»""{«<=»";«" 
will seek an advantage over competitors by an attemptto 
evade the union regulations and labor standards. One 
method of doing this without declaring open war upon the 
union is to divert some distinct part of their work to re- 
union shops and to justify this on technical Sounds The 
agreement, however, is broad enough m its scope to prohibit 
anv such evasion. The preference principle contemplates 
that whatever work a manufacturer who is a party to the 
agreement may have, belongs of right to union workers. 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 409 

A bouse cannot be part union and part non-union if the 
preferential shop is not to break down. 

The issue has arisen in the Chicago market on severad 
occasions. In one case*" the union raised a question with 
the Board of Arbitration as to contract work being placed 
by X and Co. with non-union firms. Investigation showed 
that a dual organization was being maintained. Under the 
name of X and Co. the firm had been and was doing a special 
order business as always, the suits being cut and trimmed 
in its own shop and the garments then sent into union con- 
tract shops to be manufactured. Some weeks previous to 
the complaint, however, the same people had organized as 
Y and Z to engage in a mail order business. This firm was 
having all of its manufacture, including cutting, done by 
contractors. Among the contractors were two union houses 
in Chicago, a well-known non-union house in Chicago, and 
a non-union establishment in a southern state. The union 
contended that its agreement covered men's and children's 
overcoats, suits and pants manufactured by X & Co., and 
that those manufacured for it and distributed under the 
name of Y and Z were a part of its business. It contended 
that to have any part of these manufactured in non-union 
houses here or elsewhere was a violation of the agreement. 

In deciding this question the Board of Arbitration sus- 
tained the union's contention, ruling that " the agreement 
between X and Co. and the union covers all men's and chil- 
dren's overcoats, suits and pants manufactured by X and 
Co. It matters not that new lines of these are taken on or 
how they are distributed. It (the Board) rules specifically 
that the work sent into contract shops and then distributed 
under the name of Y and Z is covered by the agreement 
and must be made in union shops. It is obvious that to rule 
otherwise would be to open a loop-hole which would destroy 
the agreement in effect. The Board directs that all 'woolens* 
in all non-union shops and as yet uncut shall at once be 
withdrawn and that henceforth none shall be sent to any 
non-union house. This applies both to houses in Chicago 
and to those outside. No penalty is imposed in this case 




* 5 



410 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

because of the absence of proof of improper intent, and 
because this is the first case of the kind to come before the 
impartial machinery of this market." 

The second case was soon to follow, however.^^ The 
union complained that B and Co. had been violating the 
agreement by sending out work to be cut, trimmed and 
made in a non-imion house, and requested that this be 
stopped, compensation ordered, and proper discipline im- 
posed. The answer made by the firm was that a distinct 
company, not B and Co. and not under agreement with the 
imion, had sent out the work in question, and that this dis- 
tinct company, C and Co., had a right to do what it had been 
doing. 

The chairman of the Board of Arbitration ruled against 
the contention of the management that C and Co. was sep- 
arate and distinct from B and Co., had no agreement with 
the imion, and could send its work where and as it wished. 

" The fact is that while there are two corporations, the one 
is an off-shoot of the other and is being used to solve the prob- 
lem of this other; their finances are related; their management 
and control are one. For the purpose of manufacture they are 
to be regarded as one. To rule otherwise would be to open a 
loop-hole which would make it possible for any firm to rid itself 
of the responsibilities it has assumed under the existing agree- 
ment. Moreover, the manufacture of the C line and the manu- 
facture of the B line were conducted as one business last year. 
Sending out the C work this year is a diversion of work from 
B's workers. It may not be done. 

« • • « rpj^e work was sent into the non-union house under 
circumstances that the chairman feels a penalty should be 
imposed. He, therefore, orders not only that there be no fur- 
ther violation of the agreement, but also that the firm shall pay 
$2.50 for each suit sent to date into this non-union house. This 
is to be paid to the firm's workers with claims upon this work, 
To what workers it shall be paid, and how it shall be divided 
among them, will be arranged in conference by the labor man- 
ager for the firm, a representative of the union, and the chair- 



man. 



The rule that the union workers of a firm have a claim 
upon all the productive work that the firm may have to give, 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 411 

applies particularly to such work as has been done by them 
on previous occasions since the signing of the agreement. 
In such a case the workers' claim upon the work in question 
is not CHily established by implication through the prefer- 
ential provisions of the agreement. It has the additional 
sanction of past practice to support it. The manufacturer 
is, therefore, not free to send out any work thus belonging 
to his union employes, except such as is in excess of his 
capacity, and to have it done at reduced cost elsewhere. 
Especially where the outside house is a non-imion house — 
even though no union contractor be available for the work— 
the recent decisions of the impartial chairman on the subject 
stamp such diversion of work as clearly unlawful. The 
problem has arisen particularly in connection with canvases 
and linings, which some firms have been making in their 
own shops. Finding that they could obtain them more 
economically outside through specialty houses employing 
non-union help, some of these firms have proceeded to send 
out their linings and similar parts to be made up under con- 
tract or bought them ready-made according to specification. 
One of the first cases of this particular type**^ brought 
to the attention of the impartial chairman as Case No. 757 
was that of a firm which had sent out one-piece linings to 
be made in a non-union house. The Trade Board referred 
the case to the Board of Arbitration as involving a market 
problem, and Chairman Millis ruled as follows : 

" The question here is whether a firm making linings when 
the agreement was signed can, in the interest of economy, divert 
this work to an outside house when this reduces the amount of 
employment for the firm's union workers. The general prin- 
ciple involved has become fairly well defined and recognized in 
the market. Work may not be transferred by one firm to 
another for the sake of reducing costs because it reduces the 
amount of work available for the firm's union workers." 

After this decision had been rendered the union endeavored 
to have it applied generally in the market wherever there 
had been a diversion of work made inside at the time or 
since the existing agreements were signed. In this the union 



412 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 

was not successful, so that it was obliged to file similar com- 
plaint against a number of other firms which were not oper- 
ating in accordance with the decision. Extended argument 
by both sides before the full Board of Arbitration*^ led to 
a decision from which the representative of the firms on the 
Board dissented but which reaffirmed the ruling of the Chair- 
man in Case No. 757a. The decision set forth, among other 
things, the following: 

" The Board cannot rule otherwise than that the agreement 
covers for each house the different branches and parts of manu- 
facture engaged in at the time the agreements were entered into. 
If it were ruled that some part of manufacture was not covered 
by the agreement it would be to rule that any part a firm 
wished to divert was not covered by the agreement, unless the 
Board should legislate and arbitrarily say that certain things 
would be excepted. The Board is not a legislative body. 

" The Board and the Trade Board have made rulings in dif- 
ferent types of cases that have direct bearing on this situation 
insofar as it involves diversion of work, without understand- 
ing, to be made under contract. More than once has it been 
ruled that a firm may not send out work to be done under con- 
tract except that in excess of its capacity. The only excep- 
tion made is where a firm has all the time divided its work 
between its own shop and a contract shop. There the cus- 
tomary division has been approved. The ruling has been ac- 
cepted. In the cases now before the Board it has not been a 
question of getting an excess of work made up but a question 
of getting it done more economically and at less cost. In con- 
tract cases the rulings have been consistent to the effect that a 
firm may not divert garments from its shops to a contract shop 
merely to save costs. 

" Because of the above reason and the feeling that any diver- 
sion of work from union workers would lead very naturally to 
complications and loss of good will, which is a far larger asset 
than any savings from having linings and canvas fronts made 
up under contract, the Board rules as did the Chairman in 
No. 767a ♦ • • »' 

The foregoing decisions establish firmly the principle that 
no manufacturer under agreement with the union may send 
out work to non-union houses without the consent of the 
organization. Nor, on the other hand, may such a manu- 
facturer accept work to be done either in his own shops or 



PRINCIPLE OF UNION PREFERENCE 418 

with his assistance in other shops, for the account of a house 
upon which the union has declared a strike. For the mak- 
ing of such "unfair" work is not only giving aid to the 
strike-bound firm against the union in the struggle. It is 
also contributing to that extent to the permanent diversion 
of work from the union workers who have a right to it. In the 
absence of an agreement outlawing the work of an "unfair" 
house, the union would have to be conceded the right to 
strike against any manufacturer who knowingly joined in 
the attack upon the imion by accepting such work. As it is, 
this right of direct action is superseded in Chicago by the 
assumption by the impartial machinery of jurisdiction over 
all such cases. In one instance^^^ the workers in a certain 
house, believing that the work in the shop originated in a 
strike-bound house with the approval of the union stopped 
work in order to force its abandonment. When the case came 
to the Trade Board the chairman gave the following ruling: 

" Chicago manufacturers have agreed that no strike-bound 
work shall be done in this market. The position of the Trade 
Board with respect to such work has been stated clearly in past 
decisions. It is not only unnecessary for the union to take sum- 
mary action on its own initiative, but such action amounts to 
saying that, however willing the union may be to submit other 
questions, it is unwilling to submit the question of strike-bound 
work to the impartial machinery * * ♦ The Trade Board 
directs that hereafter in case of suspected strike-bound work 
the union take the matter up with the General Labor Manager. 
It shall be given precedence over all other business, and if it 
cannot be adjusted in 24 hours it shall be brought to the Trade 
Board. An emergency hearing will be held and if there is rea- 
son to believe that the work is strike-bound the Board will direct 
that the work be stopped until the facts can be ascertained." 




Cfi 



be 









O be 






i-'^ 



b£ 




r. 



b£ 






S X 



1^ S»r- 



f. 



•=£ 



■ : 



M 



ii; 
ii i 




APPENDIX I 

Index to Decisions of Impartial Machineey Cited in Paet III 

(a) (b) (c) Date. 

1 H 393 5-1-1921 

2 H 116a ll-28-'16 

8 H 701 2-17-'19 

4 C 11 10- ^-'^^ 

5 C 407 10-20-'20 

6 C 130 4- 6-'20 

7 C 963 & 964 10- 1-'21 

8 C 854 7-23-'21 

9 H BA 7-20.'14 

10 H 364a 7-16-'17 

11 H 293a 6-17-'15 

12 H 661a 2-25-'19 

18 H 69a 3.14-'21 

14 H 302 2.22.'21 

15 H 799 10- 7-'20 

16 H 382a 5- 9-'21 

17 H 133a 11-15-'16 

18 H BA nodate 

19 H 111 S-T'-'^O 

20 H 170 10-23-'20 

21 C 365 9-80-'20 

22 C 692 *-12.'21 

28 C 424 11- 4-'20 

24 C 809 6-18-'21 

26 C 707a&19d 5-26-'21 

26 C 610a 8-16-'21 

27 C 802 6.14-'21 

28 C 751 5-28.'21 

(a) Numbers in this column refer to corresponding numbers printed above the 

line in the text in connection with decisions cited. 

(b) This column indicates the jurisdiction of the Board making the decision 

c g, H=Hart, Schaffner and Marx; C=Chicago market exclusive of 
Hart, Schaffner and Marx. 

(c) This column identifies the decision by its own serial number. .... 

"BA" stands for Board of Arbitration as the source of the decision, 
when it has no serial number. u i • a ^u^ 

" TB '• stands for Trade Board. Wherever the number alone is used, the 
decision is by the Trade Board. , * u-. *• «i . 

"a" indicates that decision is by Board of Arbitration on appeal, 

** d " that it is decided directly by the Board of Arbitration. 



416 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 



(a) 


(b) 


29 


C 


80 


c 


81 


c 


82 


H 


88 


C 


34 


C 


85 


C 


86 


M 


87 


U 


88 


C 


89 


C 


40 


C 


41 


C 


42 


H 


48 


H 


44 


H 


45 


H 


46 


H 


47 


H 


48 


H 


49 


C 


50 


H 


01 


C 


52 


C 


58 


C 


54 


H 


55 


C 


56 


C 


57 


C 


58 


C 


50 


C 


60 


C 


61 


C 


62 


C 


68 


C 


64 


C 


65 


C 


66 


C 


67 


C 


68 


c 


69 


H 


70 


U 


71 


U 


71 


C 



(^) Date. 

96S 9-24-*21 

*^S 12- 2-'20 

®10a 8-16-*21 

^ 7-16-'20 

®^3 g. g_>2i 

^®0 12-28-'20 

764 & 768 6-16-'21 

^^ 5- 8-'21 

^ 8- 4-'20 

8*9 7- 9-'21 

980 9-10-'21 

970 . 9. Y.»2i 

*86 12-27-'20 

TB 9. 5.>i8 

^70a 10-11-'17 

690a Feb. 1919 

905 l-16-'20 

711a 4. g.»i9 

358a 8-26-'21 

349 ; 8-19-'21 

1158 12-12-'21 

905a 2- 8-'20 

471 12-10-'20 

627 .-. 8-12-'21 

808 6-19-'21 

562a 4. 4.»|g 

789 6. 7.»21 

769 5-21-'21 

877 10- (j-'20 

454 12- i-»20 

804 6-14-'21 

688 8-14-'21 

707a & 19d 5-26-'21 

805 6-18-'21 

611 8-10-'21 

814 & 818 6-22-'21 

870 7-20-'21 

878 k 874 7-21-'21 

868 g. 5.»21 

824 6-25-'21 

142 10- 8-'20 

821 2- 4-'21 

288 2-ll-'21 

695 4-14-'21 



(a) 


(b) 


78 


C 


74 


H 


75 


C 


76 


H 


77 


C 


78 


C 


79 


C 


80 


C 


81 


H 


82 


H 


83 


H 


84 


C 


85 


C 


86 


C 


87 


C 


88 


C 


89 


C 


90 


c 


91 


H 


92 


H 


98 


H 


94 


H 


95 


H 


96 


H 


97 


C 


98 


H 


99 


H 


100 


H 


101 


H 


102 


H 


108 


H 


104 


H 


105 


C 


106 


H 


107 


H 


108 


C 


109 


C 


110 


C 


111 


C 


112 


C 


118 


C 


114 


C 


115 


C 


116 


C 



APPENDIX I 417 

BA :::::: ^-^^'^i 

Z^. 10- 7-'20 

JJi" 2-25-'19 

JS 2-26-'20 

J03 12-2-'20 

osn 5-21-'21 

?39 ^-1^-'21 

^^^ a- « '91 

J!?**"« 12-4-'S 

?94 7-U-'21 

852 ^1"-'21 

!ff 7-13-'21 

mJ 7-19-'21 

S 8-6-'21 

?I« 12-28-'20 

179 1-8-15 

JZ 11- 6-'20 

f ?» V, 2-25-'16 

Joint Jlenio i^ >r n>v 

R^-'" 2-27-'18 

oot 9-20-'18 

BA ^-22-'21 

ni 6-28-'15 

BA *-2-'15 

„A 6-21-'16 

^.■:.:::::::::::::;::::;;: ■i,1:3? 

»f.::::;:::::;::::::::;::: tS 

ifi- l-28-'20 

„7 • 10-28-'20 

524::: f-^-'i* 

oao 8-ll-'21 

884:::: i-^^-'^^ 

000 8- 6-'21 

ifoo 7-9-'21 

llf 12-14-'21 

III 8-8-'21 

897 8- 9-'21 

r-; 8- 4-'21 

'^^ 3- 9-'21 



418 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 



(a) 


(b) 


(c) 


Date. 


117 


C 


890 


8- 3-'21 


118 


C 


885 


8-15-'21 


119 


c 


641 


3-10-'21 


120 


c 


889 


7-29-'21 


121 


c 


886 


8-15-'21 


122 


c 
c 


. 910 


8-10-'21 


123 


800 


6-21-'21 


124 


c 


868 


8- 3-'21 


125 


H 


90 


8-20-'20 


126 


C 


845 


7- 9-'21 


127 


H 


176 


ll-10-'20 


128 


H 


343 


3- 8-'21 


129 


H 


428 


6- 3-'21 


130 


H 


BA 


3-29-'17 


131 


C 


884 


7-29-'21 


132 


H 


827 


6- 8-'21 


133 


C 


883 


8- 6-'21 


134 


H 


982 


4-30-'20 


136 


C 


612 


3-12-'21 


136 


C 


493 


1- 4-'21 


137 


H 


289 


2-17-'21 


138 


C 


862 


7-22-'21 


139 


H 


136 


10- 4-'20 


140 


H 


275 


2-ll-'21 


141 


H 


199a 


3-12-'17 


142 


H 


445a 


12-12-'17 


143 


H 


325 


4-80-'21 


144 


BA 


12-22-'19 


145 


C&H 


6d 


2-25-'20 


146 


C 


lOd 


3-31-'20 


147 


C 


9d 


4-14-'20 


148 


C&H 


BA 


4-14-'21 


149 


C 


18d 


5-10-'21 


150 


C 


20d 


7- 5-'21 


161 


C 


21d 


7- 5-'21 


152 


H 


BA 


8-30-'13 


153 


H 


326 


2-24-'21 


154 


H 


381 


4- 8-'21 


155 


C 


881 


8- 2-'21 


156 


C 


669 


4- 4-'21 


157 


C 


786 


6- 9-'21 


158 


C 


404 


11- 2-'20 


159 


H 


417a 


8-28-'17 


160 


C 


859 


7-22-'21 




APPENDIX I 



419 



(a) 


(b) 


161 


H 


162 


H 


163 


H 


164 


H 


165 


H 


166 


H 


167 


H 


168 


C 


169 


C 


170 


C 


171 


C 


172 


C 


173 


H 


174 


H 


175 


C 


176 


H 


177 


C 


178 


C 


179 


H 


180 


H 


181 


H 


182 


H 


183 


H 


184 


H 


186 


H 


186 


H 


187 


H 


188 


C 


189 


C 


190 


C 


191 


C 


192 


H 


198 


C 


194 


C 


195 


H 


196 


H 


197 


C 


108 


H 


199 


C 


200 


C 


201 


C 


202 


C 


203 


C 


204 


C 



(c) Date. 

*^35a 5-31-'17 

967 4- 2-'20 

383 4-19-'21 

392a 3-21-'21 

193a 5. 2-'21 

456a 11-15-'17 

953 3-17-'20 

835 7-13-'21 

942 9. 6.'21 

318a, 378a, 507a 7-16-'21 

545 2-14-'21 

786 5-26-'21 

398a 8-16-'17 

436a 10- 3.'17 

81 ll-29-'19 

352a 6-29-'17 

1024 10-11-'21 

201a 6. _»20 

BA 8-23-'20 

296a _ .'15 

293 5-16-'21 

^45 11. 9.'20 

314 2-28-'21 

115 7. 7.'20 

710 3-15-'19 

BA 4. s-ns 

234a 5. 2-'21 

27 ll-20-'19 

27a 3-30-'20 

517 l-29-'21 

719 4-27-'21 

BA 8-30-'13 

351 9-22-'20 

*0 12-24-'19 

303 2-18-'21 

160 10-22-'20 

629 3-ll-'21 

BA 6-17-'15 

858 g. 8.»21 

707 5-16-'21 

285 9-17-'20 

1150 12-14-'21 

502 1-12-'21 

1151 12- 8-'21 



420 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 



(a) 


(b) 


205 


C 


206 


C 


207 


c 


208 


H 


209 


H 


210 


H 


211 


C&H 


212 


C 


218 


C 


214 


C 


215 


C 


216 


C 


217 


C 


218 


C 


219 


C 


220 


C 


221 


C 


222 


C 


223 


C 



(c) Date. 

11^9 l-28-'22 

12d 8-12-'20 

■^61 5-18-'21 

'^^^ 4-17-'14 

ISl 10-14-'20 

S66 12- 1-'19 

3d-suppl 3. 3.»20 

*S^ ll-20-'20 

*37 ll-26-'20 

1082& 1088 12-12-'21 

522 l-20-'21 

839 6-30-'21 

857 7-20-'21 

1021 10-25-'21 

15d 2-15-'21 

l^d 2-17-'21 

'757a 8-26-'21 

28d ll-29-'21 

688 8-17-'21 



I 



APPENDIX II 



A comparison of the earnings for a full-time week re- 
eeived by the Chicago clothing workers in I9I1 and S Sep. 
oftrrl ''' ^^^-^^yf^-r the complete 'orgai'atS^^ 
tlwes tX t*^''^ ^'^^"'*'^' '' ^^^^'^ i^ the following 



TABLE 1 

Distribution of Men Workers in Tailor Sho 

1911 

Earning Group. 



PS BY Wage Groups, 

Percentage of 
Workers Receiving 



Under $5 Amounts Specified. 



$5 

$ 5 and under $10 
10 « « 15 
15 " « 20 
20 " 



over 



.5 

12.8 

58.4 

27.5 

5.8 



TABLE 2 



Distribution of Men Workprs tm Tatt^- c «r \ 

^^ VVORKERS IN lAILOR ShOPS BY WaGE GroUPS ^ 

September, 1919 

Percentage of 
Earning Group. Workers Receiving 

Under $5 Amounts Specified. 



0.5 
1.5 
8.8 
12.6 
12.6 
14.6 
19.2 
16.2 
8.4 
5.1 
8.1 
2.5 



$ 5 b 


-^ — 

lit under $10. . . 


10 


" " 16 


15 


" " 20 


20 


" " 26 


25 


" « 80 


80 < 


'• « 86 


85 * 


•• " 40 


40 * 


' " 46 


45 * 


' « 60 


50 « 


' " 66 


55 « 


' " 60 


60 « 


' " 66 


65 and over 




422 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 



APPENDIX II 



423 



TABLE 8 

Distribution of Women Workers in Tailor Shops by Wage 

Groups, 1911 

Percentage of 
Workers Receiving 
Wage Group. Amounts Specified. 

Under $6 8.8 

$ 5 but under $10 40.8 

10 « " 15 45.5 

15 and over 5.5 



TABLE 4 

Distribution of Women Workers in Tailor Shops by Wage 

Groups, September, 1919 

Percentage of 
Workers Receiving 
Wage Group. Amounts Specified. 

Under $6 

$ 5 but under $10 

10 " " 15 5.2 

15 " " 20 18.7 

20 " " 25 22.6 

25 " " 80 28.4 

80 " " 85 18.1 

85 « « 40 8.7 

40 " " 45 5.1 

45 " " 50 1.7 

50 " " 55 0.6 

55 " ** 60 1.1 

60 " " 65 0.8 

65 and over 0.1 



TABLE 5 

Distribution of Cutters by Wage Groups, 1911 

Percentage of 
Wage Group. Workers ReceinuK 

uSer$5 Amounts Specified. 

$ 5 but under $10. . . ^ 

15 " " 20 2?*2 

20 '* " 26 

25 " " 3o;;;;:;;;;;;:;;:;::;;- III 

30 and over ^\. 

5.0 



TABLE 6 

Distribution of Cutters by Wage Groups, September, 1919 

Earning Group. 

Under $ 5 

$ 5 but under $10 



10 
15 
20 
25 
80 
85 
40 
45 



« 



« 



C( 



« 



u 



M 



« 



it 



15 

20 

25 

30 

85. 

40. 

45. 

50. 





424 CLOTHING WORKERS OF CHICAGO 



TABLE 7 

DlSTBIBUTION OF WoRKERS BY WaG£ GrOUPS, MeN AND WoMEN IN 

Tailor Shofs, and Cutters, Combined, 1911 

Percentage of 
Workers Receiving 
Earning Group. Amounts Specified. 

Under $5 4.. 9 

$ 5 but under $10 27.1 

10 " " 16 44.7 

16 " " 20 16.1 

20 " " 26 6.0 

25 " " 30 2.6 

30 and over 0.6 



II 




TABLE 8 

Distribution or Workers by Wage Groups, Men and Women in 
Tailor Shops, and Cutters^ Combined, September, 1919 

Percentage of 
Workers Receiving 
Earning Group. Amounts Specified. 

Under $5 

Under $10 

$10 but under $15 3.7 

15 " " 20 7.4 

20 " " 25 13.2 

25 " " 30 17.0 

30 " " 36 16.6 

36 " " 40 20.0 

40 " " 45 10.0 

45 " " 50 5.9 

50 " " 55 2.8 

55 " " 60 1.8 

60 " " 65 1.0 

65 and over 0.8 



^ 



M. B. Brown Printing & Binding Co., 
New York. 



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.^Jlmalgamated clothing wrrk- 
ers of America . 
The clothing workers 
of Chicago, 1910-1922 



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FEB 1 6 J994 




AUG 9 1955 



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TITLE